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Manteca ace committed to Oregon going into senior year

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Manteca High’s Jake Corn is the Manteca Bulletin’s 2013 All-Area Baseball MVP.


POSTED July 13, 2013 2:05 a.m.

Jake Corn let the cat out of the bag to kick off his final high school summer.

The Manteca incoming senior went on record announcing he has verbally committed to the University of Oregon.

“It’s already verbal,” said Corn, the Bulletin’s 2013 All-Area Baseball MVP. “Their campus is gorgeous and everything around is so green. Their baseball field is amazing, and their facilities are the best.”

Corn, who has led Manteca into the Sac-Joaquin Section IV postseason in back-to-back years, went 11-1 on the bump, including two playoff wins. Corn helped Manteca finish 10-4 in the Valley Oak League, 18-9 overall, but Oakdale took home the VOL title for a seventh time in a row.

“I thought we started off amazing,” Corn said. “And then we (lost) two to Oakdale, and they took that VOL. We were still pretty good and had to focus on sections, but that didn’t really go our way either.”

During the section tournament, Manteca opened up with a familiar foe in El Dorado in the first round. The Cougars of Placerville eliminated the Buffaloes 2-1 in 2012, a game that lasted 10 innings and saw Corn throw eight of those totaling 18 strikeouts. He only gave up two hits and a run, but El Dorado scored the game-winner in the 10th inning after a pitching change was made.

“Justin Dillon and I threw eight or nine innings that game” Corn reiterated. “That kid was pretty darn good. He’s the second starter at Sacramento State right now.”

Corn and the Buffaloes returned for redemption on May 15, knocking off El Dorado, 6-1. The win propelled Manteca, who hasn’t won a VOL title since 1985, into a best-of-three semifinal series against Central Catholic.

On May 18, Central Catholic, which eventually lost in the section championship game against powerhouse Oakdale, knocked off the Buffaloes 12-6. Central went up 1-0 in the series, but then it had to face Manteca’s ace three days later.

“I felt like we could have been in the championship,” Corn said. “(Central) they could swing it pretty well. We hit their pitching, but they could swing the bat a little bit.”

Central Catholic (24-7) averaged eight runs a game against Manteca despite losing the second one 13-6, which tied the series at one apiece. The tiebreaker followed and the Buffaloes came up short, 6-5, in eight innings at Lodi’s Tony Zupo Field.

“The better the team is he’s facing, the more he wants it,” Manteca head coach Gene Ballardo said. “That’s just how he is.

“He’s very calm and he controls his emotions very well. He’s not a rah-rah type of guy, he just goes out there and does his work. He definitely leads by example.”

During his sophomore season as a Buffalo, Corn only lost one start and recorded over 100 strikeouts. He was brought up to the varsity team as a freshman, getting the opportunity to experience the Buffaloes’ ride to their first-ever section final where they fell against Oakdale, 14-4.

For his efforts in 2013, Corn was recognized as a VOL All-League first teamer for a second straight season. He was also honored as the ball club’s MVP at the team awards.

“He’s only a junior, so he didn’t qualify for all the All-Star games,” Ballardo said. “But next year we obviously hope that he has another great year. He’s the type of person that will build on this year. He wants to go deeper in the playoffs as well.

“And at the next level, he’s going to get so much better because of all the technology and the coaching that will suit his abilities. I expect to hear from him down the road.”

Oregon’s sixth-year head coach George Horton has been the skipper since the school re-opened its baseball program in 2009. The Ducks had no team from 1982 through 2008 and made its only College World Series appearance in 1954.

“I went up there and checked it out,” Corn said. “Coach (Horton) sat me down and told me what the deal was, and they gave me an offer.”

An offer he couldn’t refuse.

“It was right around 85 or 90 percent” he said. “(Horton) is probably one of the best college coaches around. I was a little shaky on Oregon because of the weather. I heard it was pretty bad. But if those guys can play through it, I figure I can too.”

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