February 10, 2017

A Few Moments with Captain Washington


Feb. 10, 2017

There might not be another college baseball player in the country quite like Jalen Washington. A middle infielder from Twinsburg, Ohio, Washington became the Buckeyes’ starting catcher in 2016 and made 59 starts from behind the dish. Having never caught a college game before his junior year, he guided the Buckeye pitching staff to a school-record 495 strikeouts and caught a remarkable 44.0 innings in a four-day span to help Ohio State to a Big Ten tournament title. He wasn’t your typical catcher. Washington threw out a Big Ten-best 17 runners, while stealing 14 bags of his own. Now, in 2017, the international business major was voted again by his teammates as captain, and this time, he is ready to make the most out of his senior season back where his career started at shortstop. 

This means a great deal to me, to know that my teammates saw me fit to lead this team again. This is a great honor and I’m going to do my best to help push this team to play championship baseball for myself and the rest of the seniors.

Adam Niemeyer has always been someone who has worked his tail off to be the best player he can be. He’s a vocal leader, who can reach out to many of the pitchers.

Walking out of the tunnel at TD Ameritrade after winning the semifinal game against Michigan State. When I walked out, I saw the entire lower bowl of the stadium filled with Yellow and Black, (Iowa colors) more than 10,000 fans. I remember everyone being even more pumped for the game because this showed we had everything going against us.

The catcher position taught me a lot last year. I learned that even at the worst times you have to keep your composure because there are eight other guys on the field looking at you and putting their trust in you. There’s never any time for pouting.

The transition has been good back to shortstop. It just took some time to get the rust off. Also just keeping it consistent and making the routine plays every time. Slowing down the game at the position can be a challenge. I have to trust in my abilities and my training, and allowing the game to come to me.

My biggest improvement would have to be my mental game. Understanding situations better. Why pitchers throw certain pitches in different counts. And also being more vocal to the people around me.

I saw last fall that we have enough talent to plug some of the gaps we had. Our biggest thing for us this year will be keeping it consistent. We’re obviously going to hit adversity, we just have to trust our preparation and play to the best of our ability.

The culture in this program is all about the “brotherhood”. We’ve been working to implement the “brotherhood” this year as well, but as you would expect with 17 newcomers it’s going to take some time.

People should watch out for Noah McGowan. He has the power to drive the baseball to all parts of the field.

I think the strength of this team is our pitching. We have a group of experienced pitchers who all want the ball at any given point in the game. You should expect a team that’s going to get down and do the dirty work, play solid defense and pitch the ball well. We’re going to battle at the plate to help our pitchers win games. The 2017 team is ready to make some noise.