Salado senior Jacob Wilk was voted KDHPressbox Player of the Week for the week of March 5 after he homered in both games of the Eagles’ doubleheader on Feb. 26. Wilk drove in all three runs as Salado won 3-1 over Del Valle and he came on the mound in relief, helping the Eagles finish off a combined no-hitter.
As a multisport athlete, what about baseball makes you want to primarily focus on it?
“Ever since I was 2 year old, maybe even younger than that, I always kind of had a bat and ball around me. It comes with the territory of my dad. He was a coach for about 17, 18 years — something like that. I was always around it. When my mom was at work, I was with Dad at the baseball fields, so it’s kind of always been my favorite. I’ve always wanted to play big baseball at a really high level and just keep on pushing myself and be the best I can be. I know that sounds cliché, but that’s honestly what I’ve really wanted to do since I was a little kid going on the baseball field.”
Is there any particular player you admired growing up?
“Always, growing up, I liked Derek Jeter just because I play his position. My grandpa is a big Yankees fan and always bought me Jeter jerseys and stuff like that. I used to wear No. 2 because of him. My dad used to wear No. 2 because of him. But as of late teen years, I would say — I know not a lot of people like him because he seems arrogant — but I like Bryce Harper, because he was young doing it, and I started young doing it. He made a lot of sacrifices, and my family made a lot sacrifices to put me in the position I’m in right now. He was always like he didn’t care what people thought, so that’s how I am. I just like his aggressiveness and stuff like that.”
Any pre-game rituals or superstitions?
“My mom always brings me Subway and two cookies before every game. For superstitions, I have many pairs of cleats, but I have five or six pairs of cleats right now, and I wear them all. For example, I didn’t have the hottest night last night, but I’m still superstitious that the game before that I hit two home runs with these pair of cleats on this field on a home game and I just wear them now if it’s a home game. Then, for example, I have another pair of cleats that I’ll wear with an away game and then if I just feel like I need to mix it up. Cleats are a big part, I don’t know why, I feel weird if I don’t wear the cleats I normally wear on this field or whatever like that. But it’s different right now in tournaments. I won’t wear those cleats I wear at home. I’ll wear an alternate pair or my away pair, but it’s usually an alternate pair, so I like to mix it up in tournaments. When district starts, I’ll probably stick to two sets of cleats. Also, I like wearing the same brand. It’s weird because I wear Under Armour gloves, but ever since freshman year, I’ve had grip issues with the bat and pine tar doesn’t cut it, so I just use Under Armour gloves. But I usually try to stick to Nike, I need to get used to wearing it. And if I do bad, I truly think it’s because of something I didn’t do, and everything in life I’m like that.
“Oh, and yeah another thing, I hit in the cages before every game with Coach Atkinson. A little bit — like two buckets — just to get the blood flowing. I try and go through the same routine too. Time can be crunched sometimes when it’s at this point in the season, with tournaments and stuff, but when it comes to district and playoffs, I’ll have the same routine, which is what a lot of people do, but I have it down to like the pinpoint.”
What do you like to do outside of baseball?
“Obviously, everybody likes to hang out with their friends when you realize you’re going to be heading off to college soon and you won’t be able to hang out with friends a lot. And I’m going far. Well not far but considered to some people, far from here, and they won’t be able to see me anymore, so I like hanging out with my friends and hanging out with my girlfriend, basically. I’m more of like a chill guy. I like playing X-Box too.
“I watch a lot of YouTube videos too. I’m planning on playing college baseball, so I like watching a lot of different schools play. They have vlogs throughout the week, so I like watching it to see what I’m getting myself into. It’s teams that I’ll be playing against next year, so I’ll know what they’re doing and stuff like that. And I always watch, for example, I watch this dude named Grae Kessinger who goes to Ole Miss. He’s a shortstop, and we’ll be playing against him next year unless he gets drafted. But I watch hitting video of him just to see what he does basically, so little things like that entertain me basically.”
What does playing for Salado mean to you?
“Everyone in this area probably knows Salado for their baseball, and it’s different kind of guys who have played, and I didn’t grow up here, but I’ve always known they were a powerhouse. It’s an honor to put the ‘S’ on your chest and playing for Salado baseball. The community is great for our baseball season, and they always come out and travel a lot, so it’s good. And I don’t want to be that team that was an OK team. I want to be a good Salado team that everyone knows us for too.”