Daily News spotlight athletes: Woodland Hills' Jake Jessell, Serra's Haley Havrilla
School: Woodland Hills
Claim to fame: Jessell struck out 12 batters and allowed only one hit in complete-game victory over Allderdice on Friday. He then showed patience at the plate to draw the game-winning walk in a 1-0 victory over Pine Richland to help the Wolverines even up their Section 4-AAAA record to 2-2 (3-5 overall). He's hitting .261 with a double and four RBI.
“Jake carries himself very well,” coach Tim Banner said, “and we have a lot of expectations for him this year. He came in as a catcher and a pitcher but we moved him to third so he can pitch. He's very polished.”
What are you thinking about when you take the mound?
I'm just looking to get three outs as quickly as possible and have our team hit.
How many pitches do you throw?
I throw four. Fastball, curveball, change-up and slider.
Which do you like to throw the most?
I like throwing the fastball the most because I think it's the most dominant pitch I have, so I like to throw it a lot.
What would be your strategy for trying to strike out Mike Trout or Joey Votto?
I'm not sure. That's a tough one. I really wouldn't know. I'd try to keep the ball away from where their power zone is and mix a little off-speed stuff in there and make them guess.
What are your goals for the rest of the season?
For me, it's just doing to the best I can to help the team. As a team, I would say make the playoffs. This year I think we have a good chance and I want to help my team as best I can to get there.
What's your favorite baseball movie?
Right now, I'd have to say Trouble With the Curve because it's just about a small town kid that comes out of nowhere and shows that he's just as good as anybody else even though no one has heard of him.
Who's your favorite player?
Mike Trout is my favorite because I just like the way he plays the game. He just loves to play and does so with a lot of enthusiasm.
Claim to fame: Havrilla is batting .552/.635/.621 with seven walks, eight RBI, 10 runs scored and five steals in five attempts. She has helped the Eagles to a 5-3 record in Section 2-A (6-3 overall).
“Haley has been a four-year starter at catcher for us,” coach Mike Elko said. “She's a consistent hitter and hits number one in our lineup. She's batting over .500 again this year and she gets walks as well. As long as she stays healthy, we're set. She's a very smart batter and knows the zone. She calls pitches very well too. She's deceptively fast on the bases and has a nice swing that you always try to teach.”
Do you use a certain strategy when you call pitches?
Usually I try to keep the pitcher as calm and relaxed as I can so she throws the best game she can. Whatever keeps her calm through the game. That helps the team stay calm as well.
Do you like batting or catching more?
That's tough. Probably being behind the plate because I'm involved in every play. I like working with the pitcher. I'm constantly in the game and always doing something with the pitcher.
Did you do anything special to prepare for this season?
Not really. I took it just like every other offseason. The offseason isn't a break for me. I did tee hitting and throwing just to get myself ready for the upcoming season. I'm constantly working.
What are your plans for next year?
I'm attending Carlow and majoring in biology. I received an academic scholarship as well. I'm going to be playing softball as well. I've been talking to the coach about what he's looking for next year.
What do you like doing outside of softball and school?
Honestly, hanging with my brother. Working on his school work with him to keep his grades up and playing sports with him. He's into baseball, basketball and hockey.
What's your favorite place to vacation?
I would say Myrtle Beach. It's so warm down there and it's always a great vacation to go down there.
Do you have any pregame rituals?
I usually try to get myself in the zone, talking with other teammates and stretching out getting. Just relaxed and calm and ready to play my best.
— Robert Stinner