Vol State sophomore Jake Lyle has signed a National Letter of Intent to continue his collegiate career at East Tennessee State University. Lyle, who was selected First Team All TCCAA last year at third base for the Pioneers will move back to his natural position at short stop for Vol State in 2018. His bat and overall offensive production certainly caught the eye of several schools after finishing his freshman year with a .327 AVG, 11 HR, 45 RBIs, 40 Rs, & 17 SBs in 48 games played.
Lyle points to a visit he had on campus as one of the main deciding factors for the move to Johnson City. "When my mom and I left the campus after my visit we really couldn't think of any negatives about choosing ETSU. The coaches have remained in constant contact and spoke openly about how I could help and fit into the program," said Lyle.
Lyle who decided after he graduated from Centennial High School in Franklin, TN to become a student at University of Tennessee instead of a chance to play at UAB. Lyle stated, "The recruiting process can be tough and I didn't exactly know how to go about it which could have played into the decision a little bit, but mainly I just didn't feel like I was 100% into playing any longer." We asked what drew him back to the game. Lyle responded, "I almost immediately knew that I may have made the wrong decision as I missed having the game to work on. Doing just school was not enough. I found myself needing more and I knew that it was the game of baseball that was missing." How did you end up in Gallatin at Vol State CC? Lyle replied, "My high school coach advised me to email coaches at JUCO programs that I would be interested in and Coach Hunt was quick to respond. When we met to talk about joining the program Coach Hunt told me that I could certainly come in and fight for a spot in the fall and that made my decision almost immediately." We asked Coach Hunt if Jake had exceeded expectations from the initial meeting with him about making a comeback after sitting out a year and he said, "He certainly exceeded expectations as I don't think I could have envisioned him having the success he had and being named First Team All TCCAA. We knew he was a really good ballplayer in high school, but sometimes taking a year off can really set you back. Jake came in here and showed he had the work ethic it was going to take to play this game for a while and that has been a credit to his approach. He may not lead vocally all the time, but I am confident that our guys see a leader by how he approaches practices and the game and the extra work needed on the field, in the cage, and in the weight room."
The bigger the moment and the more the game intensified last year seemed to bring out the best in Lyle. He attributes being able to slow the game down by mentally blocking the distractions out while focusing on the exact tasks that he has prepared for take over. Lyle had a great summer last year playing for the Geneva Redwings in New York. "It gave me a chance to be away from any distractions and focus solely on the game. Having had that year off, I really felt like it was good to get to a place where working on my craft was the focus all day every day."