Calm. That's what you see when you see Camanche senior baseball player Jake Drury performing, especially when interacting with his teammates.
He seems like he is control, which is what he is. That's partly because he has a supportive young team behind him. It's partly because he loves to be challenged.
Drury was one of the four seniors that led the fairly young squad into the District finals this year. Being a senior leader was something he was really looking forward to after five years of high school baseball.
"As a senior trying to lead this young team it wasn’t very difficult," Drury said. "A lot of our young guys know what they are doing. But as a senior it’s still important to be a good role model for the younger kids on and off the field."
A good role model is exactly what the younger athletes saw. Drury shined on the diamond, especially when he took over on the mound. As a prep baseball player, he is used to playing a large variety of positions —in fact coaches especially liked his speed and ability to go after fly balls. But, he always felt a good kind of pressure when he had the game ball in hand.
"I like pitching the best because you get to be out on the mound by yourself with a lot of weight on your shoulders. It’s the best challenge," Drury said. "I feel more like a leader as a pitcher because the team counts on you. You must throw strikes and lead the players to a good game."
He didn't struggle to find that strike zone. His go-to curve ball and his command of his spots notched him 67 strikeouts in this season. He even tied the school record for strikeouts in a game, notching 15 Ks in just five innings.
Even more impressive, he had those 67 strikeouts in just under 37 innings this year.
Calm, cool, collected — that's how he did it. He just focused on what he knew how to do best.
"Not really anything special just staying in my own zone and playing the baseball I know how," Drury said.
In his 37 innings in 2018, he boasted an ERA of just 1.53 with eight earned runs in that time. His opponents batted a minuscule .150 when he was facing them.
He also batted a solid .282 throughout the season, coming in fourth in the team in RBI. He also stole seven bases, drew eight walks, and only struck out a total 11 times in 78 at-bats.
A successful season, to say the least. Not to mention the Indians rode a fun win streak near the end of the season, making it farther in the postseason than anyone expected. That included his own shutout victory against Monticello, who the Indians had lost to twice in the regular season.
That was one of the most memorable games for him.
"That feel, it was unreal," Drury said.
It was a place he always expected to be. That's because as a Camanche athlete, he learned early that work ethic is how you advance in sports.
"As an Indian, I learned that you must work hard to earn anything," Drury said. "No spot on the field is ever guaranteed and there are many guys who want to be out there. Working hard could lead you a long ways."
Despite the strikeouts and the records and the postseason shutout, his favorite part was his team. You could tell that the Camanche Indians were a close squad, and that's what Drury will take with him to his collegiate career and beyond. They helped him keep a cool head and perform the way he did.
"The best part of my senior season was playing the last season with the three other guys I have been playing my whole life with," Drury said. "Also playing with all the younger guys that have been a good link to our team."