Jacob Wilk expected the performance but not the award.
Despite entering just his second start as a pitcher, the Salado junior was confident in his abilities, and it showed.
Facing Leander Glenn in last week’s District 19-4A opener, Wilk threw a nearly flawless game, tallying a dozen strikeouts in a five-inning no-hitter as the Eagles cruised to a 12-0 victory.
Following the contest, Wilk showed little surprise in regard to his outing.
“I wasn’t going into the game thinking it was going to be a struggle,” he said. “I didn’t necessarily think I would have a no-hitter, go the full game or have a lot of strikeouts because that usually doesn’t happen.
“So, it wasn’t really a shock. It was just a fun experience.”
The good times continue for Wilk as the showing earns him the title of Freddy’s-KDHpressbox.com Player of the Week.
Wilk received 37 percent of the vote to narrowly win the award, and the support was overwhelming.
“It feels really good to know that people in the community actually recognize me,” he said. “That is just really cool.”
Tallying 596 of the 1,622 votes cast, Wilk edged out Harker Heights senior Jacob Mitchell, who threw a complete game against Belton in the District 8-6A opener, leading the Knights to a 3-1 victory. Along with striking out 10 batters and allowing just five hits, Mitchell was also responsible for drawing a leadoff walk in the sixth inning, leading to the Knights’ go-ahead run.
He finished just 16 votes behind Wilk.
Rounding out the nominees was a pair of standout softball pitchers.
Florence senior Emily Gray accounted for 18 strikeouts in six innings and gave up one-hit in a win against Johnson City LBJ.
Additionally, Gray went 2 for 3 offensively with a double and RBI in the 10-0 victory.
Ellison’s Madison Livers, a senior, excelled at the plate and on the mound, going 5 for 8 with five runs, a pair of RBIs and a walk during two games, and she earned the pitching victory in a 4-3 win against Killeen.
But competing with Wilk’s performance proved difficult.
Only one Glenn batter reached base against Salado, and it was a result of catcher interference. Furthermore, only one batter amassed three balls.
“Mainly,” said Wilk, who also had a pair of hits in the win, “I was just throwing strikes, mixing up my pitches and throwing my off-speed pitches throughout the count.”
Although it was only Wilk’s second time on the mound, he is no stranger to the diamond after spending the previous two seasons on varsity, including last year, when the Eagles reached the Class 4A state championship game.
Now, as one of only two returning starters on the squad with teammate Drew Dobbins, Wilk is enjoying his new roles and responsibilities.
“Just because we were young last year doesn’t mean we weren’t a big part of that team,” he said, “and the younger guys know we know what is going on because we’ve been there before.
“They come to us with questions, and that is pretty cool in my opinion.”