Jack Sigrist came to Martinsville following his freshman season at Wichita State and wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to be on the field as much as he could.
In high school, Sigrist played a lot of infield, but when he got to Wichita State he was primarily an outfielder. In Martinsville, having that versatility made him a valuable piece for the Mustangs. Wednesdays’ doubleheader was his final day with the team, but as he’s leaving, he recorded the second most plate appearances of anyone on the roster.
“I’ll play wherever they tell me to play,” Sigrist said. “For me (this summer) was just about getting consistent reps in the infield, getting reps in the outfield, take every at bat as an individual at bat.”
A relatively young player in both college and this summer with the Mustangs, Sigrist had an idea that he’d be playing summer baseball somewhere, but when his coaches told him he’d be coming to the Coastal Plain League he knew he was going somewhere he could really improve as a player.
“I knew it was a really good league,” he said. “Just getting to play against guys from Division I, Division II, Division III, NAIA, junior college. I mean we’ve seen every talent level of guy, so it’s been pretty cool to learn and watch other people play.”
Sigrist grew up in Texas, a state where football is the primary sport of choice, but at six years old Sigrist laced up his baseball cleats for the first time and from then on he’s loved being on the diamond. He played other sports as well, but it was baseball that won his heart at a young age.
“Baseball was always the one thing where I really loved to do it every single day,” he said. “I wear the No. 6 at school and my youngest baseball memory is when I was six years old.”
Sigirst said he first started getting college looks the summer after his sophomore year in high school, but he feels he didn’t really reach his peak level of baseball skill and athleticism until after his junior year. All it took was meeting a few college scouts to know that baseball was what he wanted to do.
“For me... it was difficult, but at the same time it was very exciting,” he said. “There was never really a thought in my mind that I was going to school just to go to school.”
Playing baseball can create a lot of memories, especially when you reach the college level. Summer baseball only adds to those memories, and for a lot of players it’s the memories that get created off the field that last longer than the ones that happen on the field.
For Sigrist, the lasting memory he’ll take with him from his time in Martinsville came last Friday night. Down 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth inning, Sigrist stepped to the plate with the winning run at second base, and he knew it too.
“I got in the box, I knew the situation for sure and I didn’t really feel a ton of pressure. I’ve always liked the big pressure moments,” he said. “Honestly, I was thinking that I need to put the ball in play.”
He did more that that, he knocked a single to the outfield grass and ran to first base knowing he just gave the Mustangs a walk-off win.
“I got the pitch I wanted and I hit it and you kind of black out after that,” he said. “I kind of ran out of the box, I gave it a little bat flip, I touched first, kind of threw my helmet off and I saw everyone run at me. You can’t really describe it. You get chills. It’s an unbelievable experience.
“That’s definitely my favorite baseball moment of the summer, without a doubt.”
And maybe he can thank his superstitions for his success. Because what baseball player doesn’t have something weird that they do to contribute to their on-field play?
“There’s two things I’ll never do. I’ll never touch the foul line in a game. I always jump across it. And when I’m on deck, I’ll never step in the circle,” he said.
For the summer, Sigrist finished with a .295 batting average, tied for the team lead, with 39 hits, tied for third with six doubles, and his .978 fielding percentage was among the team’s best. He’ll head back to Wichita State with nothing but happy memories of his summer here in Martinsville.
“It’s been a great summer... I’ve gotten what I want out of it, for sure,” he said. “Martinsville’s been awesome. It’s been a great summer and I couldn’t have asked for a better host family (Jim and Donna McGarry) and a better situation and it’s been awesome.”
Chris Doherty is a Sports Reporter for the Martinsville Bulletin. Contact him 276-638-8801 ext. 215. Follow on Twitter @BulletinSport