Duke has been dynamite for Pam Pack

Published 7:05 pm Sunday, May 3, 2009

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
Jake Duke has been providing a spark for the Washington Pam Pack the last two years.
Though just a sophomore, Duke has been entrusted as the Pack’s leadoff hitter. Third-year Pam Pack baseball coach Darin Vaughan said Duke, who is hitting .350 this season, has flourished in that role.
Duke, hitting a sizzling .500 over his last eight games, has been setting the table nicely for the Pam Pack. He has embraced his role as the Pack’s first batter.
Duke’s plate savvy is just what Vaughan wants in a leadoff batter.
Duke has been brilliant with the glove, whether he’s playing third base, shortstop or second base. The son of Joey and Lisa Duke said he doesn’t care where he plays.
For the record, Duke hasn’t spent any time on the bench this year. His bat and glove have proven to be too valuable.
Duke had a solid freshman season with Washington. He opened some eyes, and was invited to play at a tournament in Florida. The hot-hitting sophomore did well at the showcase, held at the Los Angels Dodgers spring training complex.
Duke, who not only played his infield positions well but also had a solid stint on the mound, was approached by a scout from the New York Yankees during the tournament.
Working hard is something that Duke has always done, thanks in part to his father, who has had one of the best seats at the stadium. The elder Duke has coached his son for years, and is now an assistant coach on the Pam Pack baseball team.
Joey Duke said that he’s never let his son slack on the diamond.
Duke said that having his father on the field has been nice.
Duke, who enjoys hunting, boating and going to the beach away from school, has helped lead the Pam Pack to an 11-8 overall record and 5-7 mark in Coastal Conference play. The Pack is on the verge of making its first playoff appearance since 1998.
Vaughan knows that Duke is a big reason why, and he’s counting on his leadoff hitter to continue making big strides.