The Elk Valley Times has selected senior Jacob Sledge as the Elk Valley Times Baseball MVP for Riverside Christian Academy for the 2021-22 season.
Sledge attended RCA for his senior season. He became the team’s top pitcher and led the Knights to the semifinals. When he wasn’t pitching, he was in centerfield.
“Before Jacob came to Riverside, he had played with some of our upcoming seniors in summer league ball,” said RCA Coach Todd Langston. “I had the opportunity to meet Jacob and his mom and dad. I instantly took a liking to them. When he started at RCA Jacob seemed to fit right in. Jacob is a caring and courteous guy. He seems to have a heart for other people. God blessed us with Jacob being here his senior year. We knew that Jacob was a good outfielder, and he also became our ace pitcher. Jacob had a 6-4 record this year on the mound, but that record is deceiving. Most of the losses weren’t on him. That’s just baseball. I think Jacob is going to stay in the area and I hope to utilize his talents as an assistant coach next season.”
The EVT sat down with Sledge for “10 Questions” to get to know him better.
EVT: What was your initial reaction after finding out you had been selected as the RCA Baseball MVP by the Elk Valley Times?
JS: I was honestly surprised, and I thank God for everything he blessed me with this year. I had a great year and a lot of fun. I’m happy to be selected, but honestly this whole team is the MVP.
EVT: What were your thoughts on the season and finishing in the semifinals?
JS: It wasn’t the happiest ending. We fought hard all year, it was a fun year, and we had a blast.
EVT: Did you have a nickname and if so, how did you get it?
JS: Well, I had a couple, but I’d say Yacob was the one that stuck. Coach Langston called me that one day and it began that day. It was on the starting lineup list posted in the dugout and batting order. (laughing)
EVT: What’s your favorite meal and who makes it?
JS: My girlfriend, Alexis Talley, makes awesome spaghetti and I like to have it two or three times a week.
EVT: Is there anything you want to say to Coach Langston about what he meant to you during this baseball season?
JS: Well, a lot of times at a bigger school the coach gets paid to be the baseball coach. So, to see a guy that donates his free time and takes off from work a lot to help us was inspiring. He fixed up our field way better than it has ever been. He spent so many hours practicing with us and being a father figure for the team. I can’t say thank you enough for Coach Todd. To see someone dedicate himself to make us better, again, I couldn’t thank him enough.
EVT: Where do you get your baseball talent from?
JS: Umm, my Dad really didn’t play any sports growing up but he has a lot of natural ability.
My Mom was a gymnast and volleyball player. I’d say my Dad. He is like 6 foot, 6 inches tall and he is a good athlete. My Mom is my biggest fan though. She took me to every game, every practice and if I needed something like papers signed, she was always there.
EVT: What’s your dream job?
JS: Of course, a professional baseball player would be great, or maybe a fisherman on the Bassmaster Tour. I love fishing.
EVT: Who is your best friend on the team?
JS: I have a lot of friends on the team, but my catcher Jackson Smith is my best friend. I have grown up with him since I was like 2 years old.
EVT: Is there a player on your team that was better than you expected them to be?
JS: I’d say Case Creson surprised me a lot. He was already a good athlete, but he was a great shortstop. If the ball was hit to him, I would just walk to the dugout because he would make the play. He also hit consistently as well. I knew he was good, but I didn’t know he was that good.
EVT: Now that your time at Riverside is over, what will you miss the most?
JS: I came to Riverside and I knew the baseball team had been struggling a little. I would say playing on this year’s team, we just bonded. We have lots of group text and such. I enjoyed every practice and game and I’m going to miss that. School wise, everyone accepted me and helped me out and that made the transition easier. I’m going to miss the teachers. They were a lot of fun. Coming from public school sometimes the teachers are stressed out, but here the teachers are more focused and have fewer students. I was able to study harder and get my grades up. I’m going to miss my classmates and teachers for sure.
Riverside Christian Academy is opening up opportunities for kids to play baseball at the school no matter which school they attend, according to Langston.
“This is an excellent way for us to open up the ministry to kids who may not be exposed to the gospel,” he said.