American Legion season reaches the Regional phase today, with many area teams vying for a spot at State.
One of those teams is Chippewa Falls Post 77. They’re led by shortstop, Jake Sperry.
Some kids grow to love the sport they play, others were born to love the game.
Shortstop, Jake Sperry: “It’s definitely in the family. My Grandpa was a professional baseball player for the Philadelphia Phillies and Oakland A’s and then my Dad played baseball, my brother played baseball, my mom loves baseball so it’s definitely in the family.
Chippewa Falls Senior-to-be, Jake Sperry, certainly has the baseball pedigree. But the shortstop isn’t one to just rely on talent alone. “I mean everyone sees you on the field, but what they don’t see is how much work you put in off the field and it’s really all the preparation you do up to that point that makes you successful.”
Brad Wysocki, Chippewa Falls Post 77 Coach: “It’s not just showing up at the ball park. Like he said, he has put in the hard work. He knows he has some talent and has some ability, but he’s not just content with that. So, he does want to continue to improve and has dedicated himself to doing that. But, obviously anytime you’re born with some gifts it helps a lot in those situations and he’s just taken full advantage of it which is awesome.”
Sperry was a constant table setter for the Cardinals this spring, batting .440 with 2 home runs and 16 runs batted in, while leading the Cardiac Cards to the section final. He’s continued that fine form during the Summer months with post 77, leading the legion squad with a .462 average. and, while the offensive output is impressive enough, Sperry says he prefers to do the dirty work.
“This might sound a little weird, but I’m a guy that likes defense more than offense. I mean, I’d much rather take ground balls all day than hit. That’s kind of weird because most people would be the opposite way but I take pride in my defense and when I make an error it’s like the world’s going to end.”
That “old school” mentality is contagious to whichever team he suits up for and paints a pretty picture into the type of player he could soon become.
Coach Wysocki: “The fact that he’s only going into his Senior year is pretty remarkable and a pretty special thing. He’s got a bright future ahead of him and I’m excited to see where he goes with it.”
Reporting: Fox 25-48’s Andrew Lovelette