By MARINA WATERS
On Thursday, David Crockett High School senior Jacob Ferguson took the mound as the Pioneers’ starting pitcher against Morristown East. But his journey to the mound—and to officially signing on with Milligan College—is part of what has made Ferguson the athlete he is.
“First and foremost, Jacob is a great kid,” Crockett baseball head coach Scott Hagy said. “He deserves anything good that happens to him. He has had a really tough high school career from a standpoint. He was hurt and didn’t get to play much his freshman year and he got to play a full season as a sophomore. Then last year he played about a week and a half and then hurt his knee for most of the year last year as a junior.
“So we’re hoping we can keep him healthy.”
Though a knee injury robbed Ferguson of playtime for the Pioneers, the pitcher/infielder is ready to hit the field for his senior year—and to continue his career on the mound for the Milligan Buffaloes.
“Ever since I was little. I always thought I’d be doing this,” Ferguson said, sporting an orange bowtie in honor of his soon-to-be college home during his signing. “I’ve been looking at Milligan for a while. Coach Meade and Coach McMillian just made it feel like home.”
This lifelong dream of Ferguson’s was one the Pioneer baseballer made evident to Hagy from the beginning. But ultimately—just like overcoming a knee injury near the start of his junior season—Ferguson kept seeking his chance to continue his athletic career.
“He had expressed the desire to go to college and we certainly try to help any of our student athletes get to the next level if that’s what they wanna do,” Hagy said. “I kind of advised him on what to look for, things like that. But he kind of sought it out himself and he took a pretty mature approach about it.”
The senior only got to play a handful of games his junior year, but the student athlete has made quite the impression both on and off the field.
“Oh, he’s a coach’s dream,” Hagy said. “He’ll do anything you think to ask him to do. You don’t have to tell him twice. He’s going to give you his best effort any time. Whoever he plays for, he’s going to give them his best effort.”
Before Ferguson heads off to Milligan, however, the Pioneer pitcher will get to put his best efforts to work this season. With the meat of the Crockett squad’s schedule on the horizon, Hagy is hoping Ferguson will be another weapon in his conference-play arsenal.
“He’s probably right now our number two or three in the rotation which means he’s going to be seeing a lot of conference people,” Crockett’s head baseball coach said. “That’s the hope. He’s earned it. He’s pitched awfully well this spring. Hopefully he’s going to be able to take advantage of it because he certainly deserves it.”
Ferguson went from the disabled list to the top three in pitching rotation for the Pioneers. And now the upcoming college athlete’s perseverance has been rewarded with his accomplishment of signing to play at the collegiate level—which is something Hagy said the high school senior deserves.
“(Going from being injured to landing a baseball scholarship) It’s a testament to him. He works hard and he’s going to do everything that’s asked of him. I can’t ask any more from him. He gives me everything he’s got.”
Ferguson has his sights set on hitting the mound for the Buffs, but he’s also prepared to continue his work on the field and in the classroom, which he’s hoping will once again, pay off.
“I felt like it would be a great opportunity to go and further my education and keep playing baseball,” Ferguson said. “I’m working on getting mental, stronger—but education is the main thing.
“And I feel like I’ll get a lot of opportunities pitching, hopefully.”