Patience has paid off for Black Hawk College pitcher Jake Sharp.
Two seasons of development for the 6-foot-1 right-hander from Rock Island Alleman has given him the chance to continue his career at Iowa.
Sharp committed to the Hawkeyes on Thursday, one day after coach Jack Dahm extended a scholarship offer to the all-Region IV selection was 8-1 with a 2.78 earned-run average last season for the Braves.
“I’ve been a huge Hawkeye fan, and it’s always been my dream to play there so I’m pretty excited with the way things worked out,” Sharp said.
He is the third player on this year’s Black Hawk team to commit to a Division-I program.
Pitcher Seth Fuller signed with Northern Illinois in November before catcher Kendall Patrick committed to Michigan.
The nationally ranked Black Hawk program traditionally faces a number of top-rated junior-college programs, and Sharp said the competition the Braves face has helped him grow and mature as a pitcher.
“I’ve had a chance to develop a couple of pitches, get stronger and just mature as a person during my time at Black Hawk,” Sharp said. “Coach (Arnie) Chavera and coach (Jason) Belk do a good job of developing players, and they have helped make me a better pitcher. We see a lot of good competition that pushes all of us to get better.”
Chavera said Iowa has followed Sharp since he enrolled at Black Hawk.
“Jake was on Iowa’s radar out of high school, and at that time they suggested that he come to Black Hawk for one or two years to give him more of a chance to compete more than he would have had at Iowa during his first couple of years there,” Chavera said. “As a coach, and being a juco product myself, you always feel good when something works out the way that a player you bring in wants. Jake has worked hard for this opportunity.”
Chavera sees growth in Sharp’s mound presence and likes the way he has responded to a season-ending loss after winning his first eight decisions a year ago.
“He used that experience as motivation and is a better pitcher now because of it,” Chavera said. “He had a good fall, and I feel like he is ready to have a good spring for us.”
Sharp said the depth of talent on the team’s roster following a 45-10 season helps everyone on the roster.
“We push each other as we work together and that helps us all,” Sharp said. “The experience I’ve been able to get at Black Hawk, working with a pitcher like Seth and having a catcher like Kendall, it helps make you better every day.”