ST. MARTIN, MS (WLOX) - The St. Martin Yellow Jackets baseball team is young with only 3 seniors, 5 juniors, 4 sophomores, 9 freshmen and 2 eighth graders.
One of the sophomore players is beginning to turn heads. Jacob Gilliland came within two outs of tossing a no-hitter last week in a 4-3 loss to Gulfport at MGM Park. Errors proved costly in the loss.
Jacob Gilliland is a 6-foot, 170 pound sophomore who is making his presence known on the mound. His record isn't going to make waves, but his pitches do. Despite his 1 and 2 record..his overall stats are impressive.
In 19 innings, Gilliland has thrown 19 strikeouts, carries a 1.84 earned run average and teams are batting only .121 against the hard throwing Yellow Jacket. If his teammates could improve defensively in the field, Gilliland would have a better won-loss record.
Teams have scored 13 runs against Gilliland, but only 5 are earned runs. Gilliland , who can reach 90 miles an hour on his fast ball, started pitching in the 7th grade.
"I use to be a catcher and then I pitched in a game and threw a no-hitter and my coach put me in as a pitcher after that, "stated Gilliland.
St. Martin head coach Chris Blake knows he has someone special.
Blake said, "His strong points are his velocity, that's his strongest point right there. He's throwing up 80s right now and he comes behind it with a decent curve ball around 72-73 mph."
Gilliland takes advantage of every opportunity to improve on his pitching skills.
"I went to coach, asked for a bunch of drills and he gave me what he could and I just been working hard at practice, "Gilliland said.
Gilliland loves striking out opponents saying, "Striking people out with a curve ball, nothing better than that."