It was easy to figure out when Blessed Trinity baseball star Jake Skole had returned to the team from his ankle injury.
How so? The major-league baseball scouts started showing back up at the team’s games.
Nearly 30 MLB scouts watched Skoke put on a show in Tuesday’s sweep over Pierce County in the Class AA quarterfinals. The Titans (24-10) won a pair of five-inning games by the scores of 12-2 and 11-1.
Skole might be the state’s hottest player. Since returning from his injury, he has six homeruns and 21 RBI in six games — all playoff games.
“That’s impressive, isn’t it? He was out for most of the year,” Blessed Trinity coach Andy Harlin said. “Six homeruns in the playoffs? I don’t even know what to tell you about that one.
“He’s just one you sit back when you coach him, fold your arms and say ‘That a boy.’ He just has so much tremendous ability.”
In the Tuesday’s opening game, Skole blasted a homer that easily cleared the 385-foot sign in center. In the nightcap, perhaps just to show the crowd of scouts watching his every move that the ankle was fine, Skole led off by bunting toward third base for a single.
“There’s a reason why all the scouts are here,” Harlin said. “He can lay one down for a bunt, then hit one over the centerfield wall for homerun on a low and away pitch. He’s just … Superman.”
Skole has signed a football scholarship with Georgia Tech, and plans to walk-on the school’s baseball team. However, he is also a candidate to be selected in the top 10 rounds of next month’s baseball draft, and maybe even higher after his playoff performance.
“Right now, I’m planning on going to Georgia Tech,” Skole said. “I haven’t thought about (draft scenarios) because I’m focused on helping our team try to win the state championship.”
The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Skole was injured in the season’s third game, when he raced to beat out a bunt and clipped the foot of the Alpharetta first baseman. Skole rolled his right ankle, and missed the next six weeks with an ankle sprain and bone bruises.
“It was tough hearing the news about the injury,” Skole said. “After I sprained it, I thought I’d be out a week or so. Then I got an MRI, and it showed pretty bad bone bruises, so I would be out longer.”
“I’m just glad my team kept winning so I could be with them in the playoffs.”
Blessed Trinity’s Alex Cruz, who has signed baseball scholarship with Georgia Tech, had three hits, including a homerun and two doubles, in the Tuesday’s second game. Cruz had six RBI, knocking in the winning run in the top of the fifth.
What do I think about Skole? I think Georgia Tech is on the brink of losing one of the members of its 2010 football recruiting class. You know, 30 MLB scouts don’t show up at a high school baseball game in mid-May to evaluate a player that they may draft. He is going to be drafted. Will he sign? It all depends on how high Skole gets drafted. Only a few weeks ago, there were a lot of mixed feelings about Skole among the MLB scouts. It’s amazing how quickly things have changed over six games. You should’ve seen them drooling on Tuesday. If Skole keeps up the pace, no telling how high he will go. I think Skole is a goner — if he gets respect in the draft — because he holds leverage like few others in Georgia, which by the way is expected to have one of its strongest high school classes ever for the June baseball draft. What leverage? Jake signed a football scholarship with Georgia Tech. If he decided to go pro in baseball, as long as he didn’t enroll in any college classes, he could give it 4-5 years in baseball to see how far he makes it. Then, if he was unsatisfied in baseball, he could sign a D1 football scholarship (aka Chris Weinke, Quincy Carter), and return to college on a football scholarship. He is privy to the best of both worlds. Go see Skole in the playoffs if you can. He is one of several big-timers on Blessed Trinity’s baseball team.