Exclusive interview with Oakland University designated hitter/catcher Nolan Jacoby.
1. What were the highs and the lows of the season? Is there a single moment that sums up the season?
This season was a roller coaster. The lows really happened towards the beginning of the year and at the final game. We always had a solid team, but at the beginning of the year we could not really put it all together. We had a good mix of upperclassmen in the starting lineup, but also depended on many freshmen to help out. Everyone knows it is not easy to step up as a freshman at the highest level of sports. Sure, we played a tough non-conference schedule, but we were just as good if not better than all those teams, it was just a matter of putting it all together.
By conference time, we started figuring it out and it was fun to compete for a conference championship for the first time since I have been here. Everything goes better on a team when you have something to play for. So I would definitely say the high point of the year was rolling along in conference and being in contention the whole time. Another low part was losing that final game to Oral Roberts. It was sad to see the seniors play in their last college game. These guys have been here since I was a freshman and have taught me a lot. I am honored to step up and take their place next season.
2. Who were your baseball influences growing up?
Growing up my biggest baseball influence was my dad. He kept my head in the game and spent a lot of money buying me equipment, paying for travel teams and all the other costs that playing baseball brings. There were times where baseball made me so upset that I would want to quit; because after all baseball is a game where great players fail more than they succeed, and I can’t stand failing. My dad has always wanted me to have as much success as I could, and he kept me in baseball because he saw my potential even when I didn’t.
3. Other than scheduled practice, how do you prepare for a game?
We prepare for games in many ways. Besides practice, we bond a lot as a team and talk about upcoming series and games. This year, after struggling to start off, our team approached game days in more of a laid back way. We would mock the “pressure” of winning, and everyone would be laughing in our team huddle before the game. Losing can make a team tight, so our captains did everything they could to keep us loose and not press. Ironically, we would chant out “press” before games to mock the idea of playing too tight. It was a fun way of getting ready for games and we had a lot of success with it.
4. Will you be playing again next year? What will you try to improve upon for the next season?
I will be playing again next year and the thing I will work on the most is my pitch-to-pitch focus when I am hitting. I ended the year with three excellent series, and this all game when I developed more of a pitch-to-pitch routine. This allowed me to re-collect my focus in between each pitch I saw. To do this, I would do certain things that allowed me to get comfortable in the box and do them every pitch, every at bat. I had a lot of success with this. It allowed me to clear my mind when things didn’t go my way. I need to carry this over to the summer, fall and next season.
5. Coach Musachio earned Summit League Coach of the year honors, what did he do for the team that showcased his excellence?
Coach definitely earned Coach of the Year honors for the Summit League. He works so hard from what he does in the office, recruiting, organizing camps and fundraisers, and running a baseball program. He prepared us for this season in a way where everything we did was for a purpose. He told us at the beginning of the season when we kept on losing close games that it will give us tight-game pressure experience and we went on to have a handful of walk-off victories towards the middle and end of the season. Most importantly, he always believed in us, even when we started off 3-21.