Tournaments | Story | 7/16/2013

Bukauskas ready for next level

Sam Brazenas        
Photo: Perfect Game

MARIETTA, Ga. – Sometimes kids never want to grow up, and sometimes kids want to grow up too fast. For Jacob Bukausakas, it’s the latter. Bukauskas, a 2015 grad, is planning on graduating in 2014 so he can move on to play college baseball at North Carolina a year early.

I committed last year, probably two or three weeks after my freshman year ended,” explained Bukauskas. “I got the school I wanted to commit to very early so I chose them quick. I didn’t wait around a long time for the process to drag out. Me and my family weren’t interested in sitting and waiting for something better to come along (and) I knew I wanted to go to North Carolina.

I decided to go and make my decision final two weeks ago. We had been thinking about it for a while. They weren’t really pressuring me, (but) at the end of the day I was going to go to school anyway (and) miss the draft. So it’s just going to speed up the process. I’m going to go to school a year early and just hope it puts me in a better position for the draft. (I’ll have) less pitches on the arm and more college professional help.”

The 6-foot-1, 175-pound right handed pitcher is currently ranked No. 10 on Perfect Game’s High School Class of 2015 National Rankings, and is ranked No. 1 overall in Virginia. He’s attended numerous Perfect Game events including the 2013 Junior National Showcase, where he hit 93 mph on his fastball, and the 2012 PG National Games, where he was awarded the Most Valuable Pitcher for the East squad.

Well I’ve been going to Perfect Game events for about a year and a half now,” added Bukauskas. “It’s fun. Perfect Game is where I got my first exposure so I really appreciate all that Perfect Game has done for me.

I threw the first three innings of my game (at the Junior National Showcase). I threw to a great catcher (and) It was a great event. I went last year so I was excited to be back….. (The 2012 PG National Games) was a fun event. I loved being out in San Diego. It was probably my favorite event I have done. I hope I can make it back out there this year.”

Bukauskas was awarded district pitcher of the year both his freshman and sophomore years at Stone Bridge High School.

I had a pretty good year. I had over 100 strikeouts (in) 70 innings,” said Bukauskas about his high school season. “We figured out a way to win every game. Every game was almost in extra innings. We had a good pitching staff. Me and my friend Devon Perez threw every other game. Everyone knew when they were playing Stone Bridge they were not going to score.

I got district pitcher of the year last year. As a freshman that was fun to do. I had a really good year last year. We had great defense and were always in the position to win games. This year it could have went a lot of different ways. Devon Perez could have gotten it too. I guess it just fell my way but it could have gone either way.”

Bukauskas said his strongest pitch is his slider. It used to be his fastball earlier this year, however his stamina is wearing down and his fastball is not at his strongest. He says the slider is “a good strikeout pitch.”

Bukauskas is playing with the Evoshiled Canes 16u team this summer at the 2013 WWBA 16u National Championship. He said he’s very close with the guys and would love to play on this team again next summer, but isn’t sure if he will be able to since he will be getting ready for North Carolina.

In my opinion this is probably the best organization in the country,” said Bukauskas. “We have guys from everywhere and almost everyone on this team is committed and the guys who aren’t will be soon.”

The Evoshield Canes program started in 2007, and their goal is to help kids get into college for baseball.

A lot of these guys are already committed to college so our goal is to develop them so they can play when they get to college, try to win a job early in their careers,” said Canes North Director Jeff Petty. “We feel like if we play at a high level with these guys we’re providing them an opportunity to get better, so when they go to college they’re prepared. Some of them have pro careers ahead of them as well. We’ve had about 60 guys drafted in the last six years. So a lot of guys that play for us we try to get them ready for that too.”

The Canes 16u team has done well offensively in the WWBA 16u National Championship averaging .319 collectively as a team. Danny Blair is 7-for-16 with two triples and three RBI. Stephen Scott is leading the team in RBI with five.

The Canes have managed to give up only nine runs so far over five games. Logan Allen, Andrew Noviello, Jeff Harding Jr., Dylan Cyphert and Bukauskas all pitched shutouts during their time on the mound. Cody Morris struck out 10 batters over four innings, and Bukauskas struck out nine over four of his own.

I didn’t have all my great stuff,” said Bukauskas about his performance against Gator Baseball Academy on Monday. “I’ve thrown about 110 innings this year. I had about 80-percent of what I normally have, but I figured out a way to still get people out and ended up throwing four shutout innings.”

JB came out, (and) threw the ball well,” added head coach Gregg Conner. “We limited him to about 75 pitches yesterday. He had command on all three pitches. Hopefully we get far enough to use him again.”

The Canes have secured their spot as No. 1 in their pool, and play Miami Pro Instruction on Wednesday before they move on to the playoff rounds.

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