Jacob Ahlbrand began playing baseball in Seymour at an early age, and he liked it so much he has made it his only sport throughout high school.
“I’ve always felt is has been my best sport,” he said. “I’ve always went along with it, and it’s let me have fun with my friends because all my friends play it.
Ahlbrand, who he began playing baseball when he was seven, said earlier in his career he played third base, but when he came into high school he switched to outfield.
He saw most of his playing time this season in right field, and said he really had to focus on what was going on, and that started if was a right-handed or left-handed batter.
“The ball comes off the bat of a right-handed batter a lot different than from a left-handed batter because it has a lot of tail on it so you have to be able to read that,” Ahlbrand said. “If a left-handed batter hits it out there it is straighter.”
He said when a fly ball is hit, communication between the infielders and outfielders is important, and when a ball is hit in the gap he has to communicate with the centerfielder.
“That is stuff we practice,” he said. “Usually, if the ball is hit to me, I would have the first baseman or the second baseman tell me to go in or go back or wherever I had to be, and if a ball is hit in the gap the centerfielder says ‘I got it, get out,’ and he takes the ball instead of me. It’s whoever has the better angle, usually.”
The hardest ball to field is the line drive right at an outfielder, according to Ahlbrand.
“You don’t know whether to go in or go back,” Ahlbrand said. “A strong wind can carry the ball out of play. We don’t’ have to deal with the wind that much, I feel like.
“You just have to think ahead if a situation happens. You always have to think about the next base and play your ground balls. You don’t want to make an over throw and let them get an extra base. You always make sure you hit the cutoff. Dropping a fly ball is even worse.”
When he goes up to bat, he can’t just sit on a fastball.
“With the pitchers we usually face, they have the command that they can usually throw a first-pitch curveball in there for a strike, so they keep us off balance,” Ahlbrand said. “Those are the bigger teams, like Floyd, Jeff, New Albany and the Columbus schools.
“But most of the time I’m looking for a fastball. I’m looking to be aggressive on the first pitch. I’ve worked on going to right field a lot since I got here. The coaches really want us to do that.”
He said the indoor batting facility was a big help over his career.
“We take a lot of cuts in there in the off-season,” Ahlbrand said. “That’s mainly what we can do because we really can’t field ground balls on the gym floor. We can hit off the T or hit live. We can do anything with the bat so we take a lot of cuts and make sure we’re ready for the season.”
Name: Jacob Ahlbrand
School: Seymour High School
Parents: Kevin and Sona Ahlbrand
Sports: baseball 4 years
Plans after high school: Attend IUPUI
Favorite food: chicken
Favorite TV show: Sportscenter
Favorite musician: Led Zeppelin
Favorite movie: Bad Boys 2
Favorite team: University of Kentucky
Q: What’s it like attending SHS?
A: “It’s a big school, but I still know everybody’s name. I’ve taken a lot of college dual-credit courses. There are a lot of good teachers here, not just to talk to you about school stuff but life-related stuff.
Q: Has the baseball program grew since your freshman year?
A: “I feel we’re bringing a lot more fans in (to the home games) than we have in the past couple of years because of our success. People are really starting to buy into the program. Our field is probably one of the better ones we play on. They’ve put a lot of time, effort and money into it and made it pretty nice.”
Q: Fondest baseball memories?
A: “Beating Bedford last year and moving on to play Floyd Central in the sectional finals, and beating both Columbus teams this year. They’re always real competitive and we’ve struggled against them sometimes.”