Prep baseball: Rancho Bernardo High’s Jackson named Sophomore State Player of Year
By Michael Bower
Alex Jackson strolled to the plate five times against Westview High in the CIF San Diego Section Division II playoffs. Each time the Rancho Bernardo High sophomore was intentionally walked.
He’d better get use to it.
The 6-foot, 2-inch, 215-pound sophomore catcher followed up his outstanding freshman season with an even better sophomore year, earning the honor of Sophomore State Player of the year from Cal-Hi Sports.
Jackson started slow by his standards, but once he heated up there was really no chance for opposing pitchers. He would finish the season with a .400 batting average, 36 RBIs and a state-leading 17 home runs — 10 coming in the final 10 games.
“It is really an honor,” said Jackson, who was named the Freshman State Player of the Year two years ago. “I just went out there everyday and had a lot of fun and tried to do everything I could to help the team win.”
Rancho Bernardo fell just short of capturing its third straight CIF SDS title. After winning the SDS Division I title two years in a row, the Broncos fell to La Costa Canyon in extra innings in the CIF SDS Division II championship last season. Jackson’s late surge was one reason why the Broncos were able to claim back-to-back Palomar League titles.
“Nothing surprises me with him,” Blalock said. “He has an enormous amount of talent. I think he struggled with trying to live up to the Freshman of the Year honor at the beginning of the season, but i think he really matured and got through that. He really came on strong.”
Jackson recently tried out for the USA 18-and-under team. Jackson did not make the squad, but the goal was to go out there and get some reps against some of the top talent in the nation.
“The coaches told me I was young and I still have another year,” Jackson said. “They just told me to go have fun and not try to stand out. They said they wanted me to come back next year.”
Jackson will be spending his summer playing for the Yankees’ Scout Team in Georgia and in Area Code tournaments. With all the talent and attention Jackson is starting to get, it is amazing the amount of focus he is able to keep.
“All players press from time-to-time,” Blalock said. “It is the nature of the game. He is no different. But he is learning to handle it all. He is able to keep his focus on playing baseball and having a good time and being a good teammate.”
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