Generals' Jeremy Wolf Excels On The Field
By Ryan Lazo, sports editor
Jul 15, 2014, 09:40
Jeremy Wolf is leading the Generals with a .350 batting average, continuing his hot-hitting from this past season.
PETERSBURG — Jeremy Wolf is a student of the game. The Generals' outfielder remembers it being this way since he was handed golf clubs as child. While golf is a far cry from baseball, the swinging of the club off the tee brought about a passion and longing to play on the diamond.
He remembers talking to his grandparents about watching Jackie Robinson play the game and immediately began watching highlights of old-time baseball on YouTube. He eyed techniques of the game's greatest players like Lou Gehrig and Robinson, watching the passion they brought to the field each day.
It created an immense love for the sport inside of him and growing up in Scottsdale, Arizona, there was one player everyone emulated. And for the left-handed hitting Wolf, it was the perfect player to model his swing after.
"It was always about Luis Gonzalez. He was the guy," Wolf explained before a game last week. "Everyone in Arizona wanted to hit like Luis Gonzalez with the open-stance, grip-it and rip-it ... If I could hit like that, that would be great. But it's too hard to do."
While Wolf is not a carbon copy of the player he emulated in the backyard growing up, his style does not stray far from the former Arizona Diamondbacks' outfielder. Wolf steps up the plate with a simple mindset, not allowing previous failures or success get into his head. Instead, he allows each pitch to travel deep into the strike zone before unleashing a powerful opposite-field stroke.
His goal for each game is always the same — hit the ball hard every single time he steps into the batter's box. He doesn't necessarily care if he doesn't get a hit, although it is his goal every time up, he just takes solace in knowing the hits will come as one continues to make good contact. But it wasn't always that simple for the player who has unleashed a fury on Coastal Plain League pitching.
Wolf was not highly regarded coming out of high school. Growing up in the Arizona baseball hot-bed, it's hard for anyone to stand out to recruiters. He knew he wanted to play the game of baseball, but no one was banging on his door until he received an offer from Division III power Trinity University.
It was a school Wolf had heard of before, but did not know much about. But when he did his research and saw the string of success the Tigers have had — the team has won at least 32 games in each of the last four seasons — he was honored to receive the offer.
"It's their job to win and they wanted me to play there," Wolf said. "I thought that was awesome and to this day I thank them because I love being there at that school."
And it wouldn't be a stretch to say Trinity loves having him suiting him up on their home field because after two seasons with the Tigers, Wolf is the holder of a .318 career average. In fact, Wolf finished second on the team in batting this season, hitting .336 on the campaign with two homers, 17 doubles and 37 RBIs.
Why the sudden explosion? Perhaps it's because of the time Wolf spent in the Mountain Collegiate Baseball League last summer. Suiting up for the Casper Cutthroats, Wolf honed his one-pitch, one-swing and one at-bat approach and it made an immediate impact.
The then rising sophomore broke the MCBL's single-season hitting record of .449 by over 20 points, improving his all around game and setting himself up for future success.
"I had no idea what to expect. It was 50 games in 45 days," Wolf recalled of the experience. "I just put the bat on the ball every single day ... It was all about focusing on every pitch. I wanted to make it as simple on myself as I can and by doing that, the success will come."
It's safe to say the success has arrived for Wolf and it looks like it has no intention of leaving the 6-foot-3 outfielder.
Jeremy Wolf has been a spark-plug for a struggling Generals' offense all season.
In his debut season in the Coastal Plain League, Wolf has assaulted the high-caliber pitchers with a ruthlessness at the plate. He's been entrenched as the Petersburg Generals' clean-up hitter while continuing to produce for a lineup which needs all the spark it can get.
Wolf's .350 average not only leads the Generals by an absurd 46 points, but also ranks ninth in the CPL for players who have appeared in a minimum of 22 games. Taking an even closer look at Wolf's numbers shows he also leads the Generals in hits (41), doubles (11) and RBIs (23).
And it was those numbers which gained the attention of media, coaches and front offices around the CPL who then voted Wolf into the All-Star game as a starter. The feat is made even more impressive when realizing the rising junior is the only Division III player who was named an All-Star.
"It's tremendous and it speaks a lot to him to have the mentality to come out here and stay strong," Petersburg manager Daniel Wood said of Wolf. "He hasn't gotten overwhelmed by his opponents or hearing those big-time schools mentioned ... He's done a fantastic job and I've been very impressed with his ability to stick to his approach."
It's that approach, the same one he started to learn as a child watching YouTube clips, the same one he honed during his season in the MCBL and the one he mastered at Trinity which has allowed Wolf to have success.
Yet, the student of the game knows there is still learning to do. It's why he has yet to reflect on his success with the Generals or his All-Star nod. That will come in time. But for now, Wolf is intent on improving with the aim of taking the next step to achieve his dream.