Teen at NYBC is more than just a sweet swing
Thirteen-year-old Hasty will graduate college before high school
YAPHANK, N.Y. -- Most of the Baseball Youth NYBC All-Star tournament players have excelled in one thing in their lives, and they've been demonstrating it on the diamond since the day they picked up a baseball. But 13-year-old Jacob Hasty has more on his resume.
A native of Keller, Texas, just north of Dallas, Hasty has managed to outperform both on the field and in the classroom. His reading levels were so good that instead of preparing for seventh grade this fall, he'll be studying with eighth graders. Instead of using a calculator for an early ACT test, he used a mental one, and nearly scored perfectly.
"Some of the classes he's taking next year in eighth grade qualify for high school credits," his mother Jennifer Hasty said proudly. "So he's on the road to get an associate's degree before his 12th grade year."
Hasty is used to finishing first, which is why it was no surprise Friday when he became the unquestioned leader of a swing-analysis system that was made available when players checked in. At a station sponsored by MOTUS, which analyzes swings using motion-capture technology, Hasty, like many players, swung off a tee. After he made contact, results showed his swing velocity around 70 mph, nearly 20 mph faster than his other teammates (for reference, the Pirates' Andrew McCutchen hits at about 90 mph).
But talk to Hasty and it's clear he won't gloat about any of it. In fact, he's rather shy. "We really try to keep him humble and just keep him focused," said Jennifer.
He'd rather do most of his talking on the field, where the lefty plays outfield and pitches. And as was evidenced Saturday, he likes to hit, too, racking up a pair of hits and RBIs for South, which lost to Central, 9-7.
"He sleeps with baseballs and has since he was 4 years old," said Jennifer. "When he can't sleep, he just lays down in bed and just grips the baseball. It's just his passion. He says if he can feel the seams and do the grips in the dark than that's even better."
He's forced the family into a lot of travel in 2014, flying to different tournaments nearly every weekend over the course of the year. Hasty plays for the North Texas Dirtbags but joins new teams around the country at the request of other coaches who will often call and ask if he's available to play in a weekend tournament, sometimes many states away.
So far the Hasty family has seen his team go undefeated in Panama City, Fla.. and other tournaments have taken them to Oklahoma City, various cities in Texas, and most recently to Indiana. As soon as the Baseball Youth NYBC All-Star Challenge games end, he'll head to Cooperstown for another weekend of games.
"It all kind of runs together," Jennifer admitted.
In the middle of watching Jacob play, another woman recognizes Jennifer and briefly strikes up a conversation, identifying herself as another mom who lives a similar schedule.
"As the kids get older, you kind of start filtering down to the same people that do it like we do," said Jennifer. "We've met some really cool people. Jacob got to play in Indiana with kids from Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, and that was really interesting because a lot of them played in the Little League World Series."
The weekly grind and new teammates and surroundings could be taxing, even frustrating, but Hasty keeps an even demeanor.
"You just play," he says.
He wants to attend Dallas Baptist University when he gets to college, but his mother is wary of his strong ambition cornering him into nonstop play. In Texas, or anywhere south he travels, baseball is a year-round sport. The grueling schedule has claimed young live arms because of it, and has forced some kids to burn out by high school.
"We don't want him to burn out," said Jennifer. "He played football with the school and did really well there. We try to keep him in other things; he likes to golf, just to kind of work different muscles and keep him moving around. But obviously [baseball] is what he dreams and wants to do." If the pros don't work out, Hasty can rely on his intellectual tools instead, but still wants to stay attached to the game he loves.
"I want to scout if I don't make it," he said. "Just travelling and seeing good players."
He's already on his way.