TEUTOPOLIS — Teutopolis' Jared Waldhoff left many teams scratching their heads this spring, almost as if he was inexplicably in their dugout.
How else could he always seem one step ahead, dialing up an unexpected pitch for a strikeout or lining a double into the right center gap to start off an inning?
Waldhoff finished his senior season with a 9-0 record on the mound, striking out 64 batters in 56.2 innings pitched for a remarkable 0.71 ERA. At the plate, Waldhoff hit .441 with seven home runs and 30 RBIs in the leadoff spot, and is the Effingham Daily News Player of the Year.
"I don't think anybody can see something like that coming," Waldhoff said of his unblemished record and solid senior season. "Hard work pays off."
But that sort of precision, that ability to deliver in the clutch time and again, doesn't happen by accident or sheer luck. It's a byproduct of his approach to baseball, to take it one out at a time, never without a plan.
"It starts whenever you're little," Waldhoff said. "Obviously family has a lot to do with that, coaches play a big part. Growing up, I had coaches that push you every day, that don't let you slack off."
Waldhoff also had the good fortune of learning under back-to-back state title teams in 2010 and '11 when he reached high school. Having already been schooled on how to approach the game within the game, watching those teams pushed him even further.
"Whenever you have upperclassmen that put together seasons like those guys did, you tried to do what they were doing," he said. "It was working for them, you try to just follow their lead, work as hard as you can based on what they were doing and just kind of hope that you continue to have success in the future."