Team EPB, including four Douglas High baseball players, has a group of athletes sign to play collegiate baseball Sunday at James Lee Park.
Photo by Carter Eckl.
Five Douglas High baseball players have signed their National Letters of Intent or verbally committed to play college baseball.
Those five seniors will be traveling to a few different parts of the country in order to make that happen.
For Tyler Rudd, Chris Thacker, Matt Goff, Luke Ackermann and Cuinn Doherty the ability to play college baseball is one more opportunity to step foot on the field, especially after losing their junior season.
“It means a lot,” said senior Ackermann. “We’ve been playing little league together since we were six years old. To see this many kids going is pretty special, especially out of Douglas.”
The group grew up playing for Team EPB, coached by Joey Davis, with players ranging from ages 13-19 from several states across the Western US.
Tyler Rudd – Diablo Valley College (Junior college; Pleasant Hill, Calif.)
• Has the commitment set in for you? “It hasn’t really set in, yet, but I am ready for the next chapter.”
• What drew you into DVC the most? “The coach reached out to me and was just loving and really nice. I have an old teammate that goes there and it’s a good conference.”
• Do you have any family in the Bay Area? “I do, I have family 10 minutes away. I’m kind of stoked for that. I will be close, but be far.
• What’s the biggest thing you want to show on the field in college? “Probably just compete and give it everything I got. My goal is to get there and be one of the top catchers. … I’m going to keep working and doing my best. …. I’m a good lead by example guy. I can block the ball good. I have a good bat and if I can get a rhythm going then I can be a good all-around guy.”
• How have you been able to grow your game since the pandemic? “I really took it more mentally. I thought of the game more with my head than my ability. I really studied the game a little bit. Watched some movies, read some books. Just the things I didn’t have time for.”
• Area of study? Undecided.
Chris Thacker – Sierra College (Junior college; Rocklin, Calif.)
• What does the commitment mean to you? “It means a lot, I’ve been stressing the past couple of weeks. I haven’t worn a gray shirt to school in the last three weeks because I’ve been sweating constantly. I’m excited. It’s been a dream of mine since I started playing baseball.”
• What led you to Sierra College? “They’ve got a great baseball program with coach (Ryan) Evangelho. … They also have a good academic program. That was a main point for me. I’m going to be an engineer. Obviously, I’m going to get my pre-reqs done there. That was a big part of it.”
• Do you know what there expected role is for you? “I’m going to be an outfielder. Obviously going to hit as well. They talked to me about being a pitcher, but I don’t know how much of that I will do.”
• How would you describe your skillset on the field? “I think I bring that baseball knowledge. I like to think things through one, two, three or four steps ahead. Obviously, then I try to bring as much leadership as possible.”
Matt Goff – College of San Mateo (Junior College, San Mateo, Calif.)
• What does being able to play at the next level mean to you? “Baseball has been my life since I was little. I’ve committed almost everything to it, so to be able to be gifted with the opportunity means everything to me.”
• What was it about the College of San Mateo that drew you in? “It was really the coaches. The coaches really sold me. Going to junior college, seeing what they do with their guys really drew me there. … After two years, my dream is to transfer to a Div. I school.”
• Do you know where you plan to play? “I’m going to be a pitcher. That’s my plan. I’m a lefty, so I ride on my arm-side run. So my fastball is always my go-to. I like to snap the curveball too, so that’s a big one. Then my changeup I always use as a setup or a strikeout pitch.”
• Area of study? “As of now business, but I plan on changing that once I figure out what I want to do.”
Luke Ackermann – Central College (Div. III; Pella, Iowa)
• What’s this moment mean to you? “It’s super exciting. It’s something I’ve been looking forward to since I was in eighth grade.”
• What drew you out to Central College and Iowa? “I like the place. It’s a lot like where I live now. It’s a smaller town and I like to fish a lot. There is a lake right by me, I can go fish a lot. I like the weather, even though it can get a little chilly. I’m used to it. It’s a nice town and it’ll be a nice play to live for the next four years.”
• Do you have family out in Iowa? “I don’t. It will be a whole new experience, a little of everything. I’m excited to get to a new place and see what I can do, though it’s a little scary being 24 hours away, but I’m excited for it.”
• Do you know where you plan on playing at Central? “I’m going to be a pitcher. That’s really where I’ve been focusing the last two years.”
• What’s your pitch mix? “I’m a big-time breaking ball guy. So, I live off of my breaking ball and my slider. I throw decently hard, but when I get out there it’s not going to be hard enough to blow by anybody, so I’ll have to mix up everything.”
• Expected major? “Athletic sciences is my major right now. I want to be an EMT, firefighter.”
Cuinn Doherty – Simpson University (NAIA; Redding, Calif.)
• How did you decide on Simpson? “I’ve always loved the game, but I didn’t really look at playing at the next level until a few years ago. … I didn’t really hear about Simpson until kind of late in the decision process. They invited me out there. It’s a smaller area, but it’s still really nice. It’s the happy medium between big city and rural area.”
• Is the plan to be a catcher at Simpson, too? “The way that coach put it, I’ll go there as a catcher, but if he sees fit to put me in a different position then we will go from there.”
• Biggest strength on the field? “Probably commanding the field and this season I’ve been hitting pretty well, too. So hopefully bring some power. … “Finding new guys to catch for, that prepared me a lot too.”
• Area of study? “Kinesiology.”