Held's quiet confidence leads to two team honors at Brentwood
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Brentwood baseball coach Greg Perdziola noticed it in the second game of the season against South Side Beaver.
Trailing 3-1, his team was struggling to figure out sophomore pitcher Dustin Lander's curve ball, but noticed he was throwing first-pitch fastballs.
“I told the team to just hit fastballs,” Perdziola said.
Senior first baseman Jake Held nodded and approached the plate.
“He went up there and the first pitch was a fastball, and he stroked it for an (RBI) base hit,” Perdziola said. “I kept using him as an example. I was saying ‘Jake did exactly what he was told to do and look what happened.' We started to rally.”
Held finished 2 for 3 with two RBI, and even though the Spartans lost, 7-4, Perdziola knew Held had turned a corner in his game.
“You didn't expect it out of Jake. No one was expecting Jake to step up and be this guy,” Perdziola said of Held's team-leading season statistics.
Held was named most outstanding team member during the Brentwood's all-sports banquet at the end of the school year, finishing with team-highs in batting average (.395), home runs (four) and RBI (14).
But his athletic accolades didn't end there. He became one of three Brentwood seniors to be named most outstanding team member in two different sports, earning the honor in boys' golf as well.
“It meant a lot because my teammates voted on those,” Held said. “To know they think that high of me felt pretty great.”
Never the one to raise his voice and shout in order to get his teammates' attention, Held developed a quiet confidence entering his senior year that coaches and players alike gravitated toward.
“The one thing with Jake is he is very quiet, but everybody likes him,” Perdziola said. “You can just tell he had the confidence (this year) and he had a very successful year.”
Held admits balancing the rigors of classwork while working to better his game was difficult, but credited his teachers and coaches for helping him manage his time.
“The coaches helped a lot because I had a lot to do outside of sports,” Held said. “It was hard, but I was able to come late to practice after getting help from some teachers.”
Held has played baseball all his life. But only started playing golf during his freshman year — a sport which he admits was more mentally straining.
“There's a lot more mechanical and mental aspects you have to work on,” Held said of his acclimation to golf. “I was working a lot more mentally.”
Held started for the Spartans all four years, shooting a personal-best 40, while finishing with a nine-hole average of 42 this past season.
Like Perdziola, Brentwood golf coach Gary Cramer noticed Held's yearly progress, and thinks his calm demeanor benefited him in a game as reserved as golf.
“In golf, definitely, because you don't have that outward talking and being loud,” Cramer said, “so you have to lead by example. He did that well. He was our No. 1 golfer.”
Unlike his older brother Jeff, who golfs at La Roche College, Jake plans to attend Dean Tech for HVAC, foregoing a possible collegiate athletic career.
“If he wanted to he could have played college baseball because he was still getting better,” Perdziola said. “I think he realized it as a junior, that he had the potential to be a good baseball player.”
Held thinks his experience as a successful student-athlete will help him in his post-high school days, especially when he enters the workforce in a few years.
“Through sports I met a lot of people, and it's been a lot easier to talk to people,” Held said. “Going to school and out in the real world, it will help with my social skills; help me be more mentally stable.”
Perdziola said: “His confidence is going to help him in whatever he does in life. When he puts his mind to something, he can accomplish it.”
Justin Criado is a freelance writer
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Rossi: Wild Wednesday proves Steelers rule
- Starkey: Rutherford hits jackpot with Kessel
- 2B Walker, Pirates smash through Tigers pitching in road victory
- Instances of hacking may be up, but indictments against Chinese military impactful, experts say
- Penguins notebook: Rutherford proves savvy in deal
- Group takes veterans, seniors in WWII-era planes at Unity airport
- Higher school taxes prevail in Western Pennsylvania, Trib finds
- Government contests sale of GE appliance business to competitor Electrolux
- Penguins get their man in making trade with Toronto for Kessel
- Pitt researchers using $4M grant to study viruses carried by mosquitoes, develop vaccines
- CIA station chief made mark in Indonesia