Jacob Merica (Elkton, Va./East Rockingham) is having a great start to his junior season, batting .382 with a team best 12 RBIs. He is hitting 117 points better than his previous best batting average (.265 from freshman season), and already has more RBIs this season than in any of his previous years. His 12 runs scored are tied for second on the team.
Jacob has six multi-hit games so far this season, and the Royals are 5-1 in those games. He had a 4-4 performance in a 7-1 win over Penn State-Altoona, and five games where he accounted for three or more runs.
Please briefly describe your overall summer ball experience. In what ways has your play from this summer transitioned into this season?
I’ve played in the Rockingham County Baseball League every summer since after my junior year of high school. Every year it seems that there are more collegiate athletes that play in the league. I also had a pretty good summer and that came with confidence as well as more experience in the outfield...which was much needed.
With a new coaching staff, what has it been like for the program as a whole?
Before we knew who the new head coach was going to be, we were all pretty anxious to see what the future held. When we found out it was going to be Coach Posey, it made the transition that much easier. He knew the culture we had and where it needed to go. He also brought guys with experience and expertise in the areas where we needed it and that fit into our culture as well which has led to a chemistry on an entire team that I have never experienced before. The program continues taking steps forward in the right direction and it’s great to be a part of.
What was your mindset coming into this season and how did you prepare for it?
As an older guy in the program now, my mindset has just been to do the work and help younger guys adjust to the different level whether it's in the classroom or on the field. When it comes to baseball it’s a simple game: you catch the ball, you throw the ball, and you hit the ball so there’s no reason to make it any more complex than that. Having experience has also allowed me to slow the game down rather than have it speed up, and our coaches do a great job in the preparation phase by giving a plan all year round.
As this 2020 season has been suspended for now, what does this mean for you and your teammates? What are your thoughts and/or concerns about it?
When we first started hearing about other schools and conferences cancelling their season, we didn’t know if any good news could come from it especially for seniors. However, unlike other conferences we have just postponed the season and are still able to practice in limited form. So we are still able to come out with our teammates and play the game we love at the end of the day. As far as the future goes, we’re just looking at it one day at a time and if we’re able to play that day then that's a win in the book. Hopefully it passes with the team being healthy and we can continue our season as normal as possible afterwards.
What is your major and do you have any plans after graduation?
I am majoring in Sociology and minoring in Criminology & Restorative Justice. I hope to be in the field of law enforcement, whether that be with a local department or possibly a conservation officer, though there is no definite plan yet.
Coach Adam Posey on Jacob Merica:
“Jacob has been a mainstay and consistent player for us since he got here as a freshman. The great thing about this year is that we have gotten to see more of his personality play out. It's taken him a little while to get out of his shell, but it's been great just to see him become such an integral part of a team with plenty of great characters. I think he is just more confident. He looks like he's playing like he belongs and is attacking pitches like he needs to. He had a good summer and I think that has helped out a bit, but just seeing him continue to grow as a person has translated to more success on the field as well.”
--- Bri Miller, EMU Sports Information Writing Intern