Like some others these days, word of Jacob Friend’s development as a vastly-improving high-school athlete has been limited in recent months because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With few sports being played because of various shutdowns, the Yorktown High School senior catcher hasn’t had many opportunities to perform, certainly not in front of many people when he has taken the field.
“It’s been weird. Jacob has really improved and is a talent, but few know or have seen that,” Yorktown baseball coach John Skaggs said.
Mainly through play with his late summer and fall travel team in recent weeks, Friend did catch the attention of the Davidson College baseball team, where he recently committed to play at the next level.
“Davidson has been watching Jacob and liked what they saw,” Skaggs said.
Friend didn’t play at all at Yorktown this past spring, when all high-school sports were canceled because of the pandemic. He would have been the Patriots’ starting catcher.
"I am excited to make my commitment to play baseball at Davidson," Friend said on a Twitter site.
As a sophomore for Yorktown, Friend played a limited amount for Yorktown’s Liberty District Tournament runner-up team, but had some big hits when he did get on the field.
The left-handed batting and right-handed throwing Friend started behind the plate and belted a key two-run homer to right field in Yorktown’s 4-2 victory over Osbourn Park in a first-round 6D North Region Tournament game.
That was his second homer of the campaign.
During the regular season, Friend had an important two-run double against Bishop O’Connell in a non-district contest.
“Jacob’s swing is so nice,” Skaggs said. “Defensively, as a catcher, he has a strong arm and can throw out and pick off runners. He also can play the outfield. I think Davidson is getting a steal with him.”
Friend will be Yorktown’s starting catcher in 2021, if the season is played.
“We could have a very good team,” Skaggs said.
Friend will be a key player along with hard-throwing starting right-handed pitcher Nathan Knowles, who has committed to play at the College of William and Mary.
Right-hander Ketz Murray and lefty James Tallon will be two other top Yorktown pitchers throwing to Friend. Murray and Tallon were top hurlers on the 2019 Arlington Senior Babe Ruth 15-under all-star squad that won state and region titles and played in the World Series.
“We just want the chance to play,” Skaggs said.