05/19/2014 11:08 AM -
Whiting, Ind. – May 19, 2014 – The chance to play college baseball did not come easy for Kankakee Valley High School senior Andrew Jackson.
Jackson attended countless camps and showcases in an effort to latch on with a college program. He battled through a broken ankle that caused him to miss his sophomore season. Years of hard work have come to fruition as Jackson will play baseball at Wabash College next season.
“Sitting out the whole season and watching all the players made me want it more,” Jackson said. “When I got cleared to play, it was all about baseball. School let out at 2:30, I’d get in the cage by 3:00 and sometimes I wouldn’t get out until 9:00 at night. I realized that I had a limited amount of time and I really worked hard and persevered through the injury and everything that happened.”
Jackson, a left-handed pitcher, has signed to play with the Northwest Indiana Oilmen this summer. Jackson joins Larry Crisler and Kevin Jones as the three players that will play for the Oilmen directly after their senior year of high school.
“It’s going to be amazing,” Jackson said. “It’s going to be very humbling at times. I’m not going in there expected to blow by players and be a superstar. I plan on going in there, getting stronger and getting the experience of playing against college-level players.”
Jackson drew interest from Lindenwood University, DePauw, Eastern Illinois and Rock Valley College, but eventually decided on Wabash. He started actively attending showcases his freshman year and credits Prep Baseball Report for helping create college interest.
“I paid a couple of visits to Wabash and I felt a connection there,” Jackson said. “I fell in love with it. I can’t really explain it. I guess you don’t know until you feel a connection with a place yourself."
Jackson throws a fastball, sinker, circle-change and curveball. He is working on adding a slider to his repertoire.
Jackson will become the second Kankakee Valley graduate to play for the Oilmen, joining Kale Popp from the 2012 team.
“I’m very blessed to have this opportunity with the Oilmen,” he said. “I’m blessed to be able to continue my dream of playing baseball. It’s my escape; it’s what gets me through the days some days when I’m having a terrible day. I can always look forward to playing catch or throwing a baseball. I play for my father, who isn’t here with me. I’m giving it everything I’ve got.”