Langley pitcher Jake McSteen has excelled on the mound and in the batter’s box for the 10-6 Saxons. The 6-foot southpaw has posted a 0.39 ERA with 39 strikeouts and five complete games in 36 innings pitched. At the plate he has a .490 batting average with 17 RBI and seven extra-base hits.
His ability to induce outs as a pitcher earned him scholarship offers from the likes of VMI, William & Mary, Penn State, George Mason and George Washington, but McSteen elected to continue his career at the University of Nebraska. The Cornhuskers have never had a letterwinner from the the state of Virginia, and McSteen is going the furthest west of all area baseball recruits in the class of 2014. Wednesday he talked with Recruiting Insider about his decision to head to the Midwest and his stellar senior season.
Recruiting Insider: Most of the area kids are staying on the East Coast but you are going to the Midwest. Why Nebraska, Jake?
Jake McSteen: My whole family has been at Big 10 schools, my mom is a Michigan State grad, my dad graduated from Penn State and my sister went to Indiana. When I began my recruiting process as a junior I reached out to all the Big Ten schools, then I planned visits to Penn State, Indiana and Nebraska. I visited Penn State and next was Nebraska. When I got there and met coach [Darin] Erstad he was the most fired up of all the coaches I’ve met.
They have a great business school and they work hard to put you in contact with guys in your profession that were baseball players. They had the perfect mix of athletics and academics there.
RI: What did Coach Erstad say to you that made you commit in March of your junior year?
JM: From the first time I was in his in his office I felt like I was already on the team. It was the start of his second season and he told me that the freshmen on the team was the only class he recruited. It was a different type of atmosphere with Nebraska. They won 29 games last year but they’ve won 32 games already this season with two series left. He was one of those guys that told you what you would do when you got to campus and said the best guys play no matter what their class was.
RI: What did you try to work on this summer to bring to your final season of high school baseball?
JM: I played summer ball with the DeMarini Stars and the pitching coaches stressed to pitch to contact. They said to look at the hitter as if you’re better than them, and I’ve had that mentality since the summer. My strikeouts went up this season and my walks and ERA has declined. Having improved confidence made everything better, and I feel like I can get an out no matter what is happening.
RI: You’ve allowed four runs, two earned, this season. How have you kept runners from crossing home plate and off the basepaths?
McSteen: A lot of that comes from the defense behind me. I worked out all winter though and spent the fall playing baseball. I played basketball at Langley my freshman year, but I’ve only play baseball since then. My velocity is up this season and I’ve worked on my curveball as well. But the defense has helped me a lot.
RI: You face rival Madison for the final time in the regular season Tuesday. What are you looking forward to in that matchup?
McSteen: We lost the conference finals to Madison last season and we haven’t won a conference title since I’ve been at Langley. I feel like we have our biggest rivalry with Madison. Just two years ago we beat them twice and lost once. And last year they beat us three times, including a blowout in that conference final. I get more fired up for them than any other team. I always want to beat them.
NUMBER CRUNCH: 304
The number of career assists by Osbourn Park’s Corrine Wessels — a National Federation of State High School Associations girls’ lacrosse record. The senior Northwestern commit is working on extending her record — and her team’s season — in her final month of high school lacrosse.
– Robinson attackman Chapman Jasien beat the clock for the game-winning goal to defeat Virginia 6A power South County at home, 10-9, handing the Stallions their first loss of the season.
– Stone Bridge right-hander JB Bukauskas informed MLB scouts that he won’t be signing if drafted in next month’s MLB Draft.
– St. John’s rolled to its first WCAC final series since 2011 where it will meet O’Connell, Flint Hill has won 16 straight games since a trip to Arizona.
– National Cathedral softball ace Sarah Ing prepares for final postseason run with the Eagles, while Howard and Sherwood could be on a playoff collision course.
– With three freshmen in the starting lineup Langley boys’ soccer has won seven of its last nine games including two draws while Centreville is on the rise after winning just four games last season.
PHOTOS OF THE DAY:
Check out some photos from Robinson’s big win over South County in which Rams attackmen Champman Jasien dealt South County its first defeat of the season on the road with a buzzer-beating goal for a 10-9 Rams win.