JUPITER, Fla. — Even without his best stuff, Jake Cave is still pretty good. The outfielder/lefthander from Kecoughtan High in Hampton, Va. made his first appearance on the mound at the World Wood Bat Championships in Jupiter, Fla., coming in to relieve righthander Jordan Ramsey (North Davidson High, Lexington, N.C.) for Canes Baseball. Cave had been warming up in the bullpen, but the Canes' offensive half of the inning ended rather abruptly and Cave went to the mound after about a dozen warm up pitches.
"I didn't have a lot time in the 'pen and today was one of those days I felt like I didn't have my stuff," Cave said. "My arm wasn't as live. I'd be surprised if I was even close to 90 (mph) today."
Cave actually was close to 90, sitting 87-88 and touching 90 and 91 with his last two fastballs in his first inning of work. Cave finished with three innings pitched, three hits allowed, two walks and two strikeouts. He also threw a good changeup with fade that sat 74-75. He did not throw a breaking ball. Cave escaped a bases loaded jam in his first inning with a strikeout.
"I feel like my changeup worked at times," Cave said. Today was one of those days where you know you don't have your stuff and you come down to a situation with bases loaded, two outs. You gotta locate, keep the ball down. I didn't have my stuff, but no runs scored so I've gotta be happy."
While Cave is considered a prospect on the mound, he is arguably a better one in the field. He has a lean, physical frame at 6-foot-1, 180 pounds. He has a quick bat that really whips through strike zone and he consistently squares balls up. In his Thursday game he went 2-for-3 with a double and run scored. On Friday he went 1-for-3 with two runs, a walk and stolen base. Though he's from Virginia, Cave is committed to Louisiana State, saying that their winning tradition and ability to play year-round was a big factor. While he enjoys hitting and playing every day, Cave said he'll do whatever it takes to make it to the big leagues.
"My mentality, I'd rather be a hitter," Cave said. "I like to go out there and compete and play every day. If the opportunity comes up to play big league ball at either one, that's what I wanna do, so whatever I've gotta do to get up there. That's what I'll do.
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