Photo Courtesy: GCU Athletics
Grand Canyon University baseball ace Jake Wong has loved the game of baseball for as long as he can remember.
“Ever since I was really little, baseball has always been my first love,” Wong told Brad Cesmat on ‘Talk to the Lopes’ on Wednesday. “I started playing when I was in T-ball and ever since then it just kind of stuck with me.”
Wong grew up playing on the All-Star teams in his little league, which is when he said he knew he had potential.
“I knew if I stuck with it and continued to work hard, and really put my nose to the grindstone, the game of baseball could lie in my future,” Wong said.
— GCU Baseball (@GCU_Baseball) March 9, 2018
The college recruiting process was a long one for Wong, he said. Like many young ball players, Wong participated in showcases and tournaments for exposure, but it was at one of his high school games at Hamilton where his opportunity with the Lopes came forward.
“It just so happened that Grand Canyon was out at one of my games, just kind of watching, not necessarily for me, but just kind of taking in a ballgame, seeing some prospective talent,” Wong said. “I happened to pitch that day and I had myself a nice little outing.
“After the game, at the time the former pitching coach approached me and said he enjoyed what he saw and he expressed some interest. From there, it just kind of took off. They came to a couple more of my games and saw me pitch a couple more times. It turned out to be the most wonderful opportunity for me and my family.”
Since becoming a Lope, Wong has grown immensely as a pitcher.
In his freshman season, Wong posted a 4.28 ERA splitting his time as a reliever and a starter. As a sophomore, Wong stepped into the role of Friday starter. He posted a 4.00 ERA in 78.2 innings.
Now as a junior, Wong is having his best season yet. He is currently 8-1 with a a 2.55 ERA in 70.2 innings.
— GCU Baseball (@GCU_Baseball) May 5, 2018
“For me personally, it’s obviously been a pretty good season,” Wong said. “My goal in each and every outing is to give my team a chance to win. Pitching on Friday nights, you’re always facing the other teams’ ace as well, so the biggest thing is you’ve just got to give your team a chance to win and I feel like I’ve done that.”
The Lopes played a tough non-conference schedule early in 2018, but have since done well in WAC play and now find themselves in the postseason conversation.
“We’ve had our ups and downs early in the season and we had some early season woes,” Wong said. “But you can do one of two things, you can just dwell on those or you can kind of move on and learn from them and under the guidance of Coach Stank and this coaching staff, we took the approach to learn from it and get better from it and understand that we play these tough non-conference games to prepare us for the conference schedule.”
The Lopes take on Sacremento State this weekend in their last home series of the season. Sac State sits second in the WAC behind GCU with a 13-5 record.
“We control our own destiny from here,” Wong said. “We’re looking forward to what’s ahead.”