Getting ahead: Cougars’ MVP struck out competition

Jake Moore graduated from Trinity Lutheran with a lot of accomplishments on his baseball resume.

Moore pitched for the Cougars for four years and also played in the outfield. This spring, he also found himself behind the plate for a few games.

He helped the Cougars win sectionals the past two years.

“I just enjoy being on the field, and pitching is my main focus,” the left-hander said.

Moore, who was named the Cougars’ most valuable player this year and his sophomore season, pitched a no-hitter this season against Orleans, and he holds several school pitching records.

This spring, he had 102 strikeouts.

He said he used his fastball to get ahead in the count, and usually the strikeout pitch was a curve ball.

Moore said he felt like he did a good job of hitting the catcher’s target.

“Being a lefty, I usually tended to go to the arm side on the outside batter,” he said. “I tried to generate ground outs and stuff like that. Usually my left foot was on the very right side of the rubber, and my right foot stands off it. I throw more three-quarters.

“Getting ahead in the count was very important. You do a lot of things from there. You can waste a pitch or two to see if they go after it. You can keep going after them and be efficient with your pitch count and go late in the game.”

In the outfield, Moore typically played in left field.

“Communication is everything,” Moore said. “It can avoid injuries, it can avoid self-disasters, and it can avoid errors. We did a very good job out here. We worked on it in practice all the time. We made sure we knew where we’re all supposed to be and how to back each-other up and avoid disasters like that. We talked all the time.”

The past two seasons Moore worked under a pair of head coaches, Bob Tabeling and Matt VonDielingen.

“ (Tabeling) focused on a lot of offense, and he wanted a lot of runs for our pitchers,” Moore said. “(VonDielingen) took us and turned us more into a defensive team. We tried to focus on defense a lot more in practice to prevent the silly errors that happened last year. We still did focus a lot on offense to be able to get that run support for our pitchers.”

Moore batted third through this season and was among the team leaders in several offensive categories, and he topped the Cougars in hits (31) and RBIs (21).

“I liked pitches a little inside and around the knee level,” he said. “That’s where I got most of my hits from.”

This season, Moore took an aggressive approach.

“(VonDielingen) brought in a whole new philosophy,” Moore said. “If we liked that first pitch we tried to crush it. From there we kind of progressed more. If we got a strike on us we tried to line-drive it, and with two strikes we tried to battle anything that’s close and still get a line drive somewhere.”

Moore said he enjoyed the time with teammates.

“I enjoyed the camaraderie,” Moore said. “We had fun times in practice. And on the field. That’s what it’s all about. Baseball has taught me how to be reliable, and dependent as well. And how to be a better leader, and help people out when they’re in need.”

The recent grad enjoyed attending Trinity Lutheran.

“I like how there’s not a big atmosphere,” Moore said. “There are small classes, and you get to know your teachers very well. They help you one-on-one. I think it’s more of the little things, like the bus rides, joking around with all your teammates and stuff like that.”

Moore file

Name: Jake Moore

School: Trinity Lutheran

Parents: Jon and Tracie Moore

Sibling: Zach

Sports: Baseball, four years; basketball, two years

Athletics highlights: 2016, 2017 sectional champions, 2015 most valuable player, 2014 most improved player, school strikeout record, 2017 pitched no-hitter vs. Orleans.

Organizations: Band, student ambassador

Plans after high school: Attend Indiana Wesleyan University or Anderson University

Favorite food: Mac and cheese, buffalo wings

Favorite TV show: “Friends”

Favorite singer: Tim McGraw

Favorite movie: “When the Game Stands Tall” or “The Sandlot”

Favorite team: New York Yankees

Author photo
Arv Koontz is a sports correspondent for The (Seymour) Tribune.