Loyalsock’s Webb plans to play at Wake Forest

Jimmy Webb’s great uncle and aunt celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary Tuesday. They did so, sitting beyond the left-field fence at Loyalsock watching their nephew play.

Webb might be the best of the bunch, but he comes from a true baseball family. And after he verbally committed to play baseball at Wake Forest Monday night, the whole family could not think of a better place to celebrate. Baseball is who the Webbs are.

“This was my, my dad’s and my grandfather’s dream since I started playing baseball,” Webb said after going 3 for 3 in an 11-1 win over Hughesville. “It’s surreal that it came true. We all had a pretty good (Monday) night.”

Only a sophomore, Webb has piece of mind now, knowing his post high school career is mapped out. Following a dominant freshman season in which he hit .507 with 26 RBI, 11 extra-base hits, 15 stolen bases and a .729 on-base percentage, Webb started popping up on collegiate radars.

After Webb excelled at a prestigious tournament in Georgia last summer featuring some of the country’s premier players, major Division I colleges throughout the country suddenly knew who Webb was. He suddenly was in big-time demand.

Since last summer, colleges have intensely recruited Webb and the right fielder is happy that the whole process is over. Now he can focus on being a full-time high school baseball player and high school student once again.

“I feel like it’s a huge weight off my shoulders. You say it doesn’t bother you, but it’s always in the back of your mind thinking about that,” Webb said. “It’s a big relief to let everything settle down and know what’s going on. It’s a tough process so I’m happy I got it out of the way as a sophomore rather than waiting until my junior or senior year.”

Webb appeared loose and confident Tuesday. His one-out, first-inning single ignited a rally that he capped by scoring off Tommy Baggett’s double. An inning later, Webb slammed a two-run double that made it 4-0 and he ignited a three-run fourth-inning with another single before scoring again.

Two of Webb’s hits came with two strikes and he took a good approach each time. One of the district’s fastest runners also showed how dangerous he is on the bases, scoring twice while being able to take extra bases.

“Jimmy is more relaxed. We talk about the mental approach and just being able to come out and play the game and he did that,” Loyalsock coach Jeremy Eck said. “He loves the game and he plays it 100 miles per hour so just having the ability to come out, step in the box, be comfortable, look for a pitch to drive and have fun, that’s big.”

Wake Forest was 28-25 (9-18?ACC) through Tuesday. The Deacons were 33-24 in 2012, their first winning season since 2008 under fourth-year coach Tom Walter.

What the rest of the season holds is uncertain, but Webb knowing how his collegiate future will go has a two-fold positive impact.

“Just the pressure of living up to things and not knowing was tough,” Eck said. “We knew early on he was a kid who wanted to commit early so he can take a deep breath and be comfortable and now he is able to do that.”

“As soon as I went there I felt a real strong bond with the coaches and then they showed me all the facilities and they were beautiful,” Webb said. “It was just a great place and I fell in love right away.”

Let the party continue.