Jack Lewis waited a long time to make the first team all-Cascade Conference list.
The senior and soon to be 18-year-old (his birthday is June 8) will have a little extra oomph when he blows out the candles. Coaches from the eight team conference of 1A and 2A high schools like South Whidbey, Coupeville, Cedarcrest and Archbishop Murphy voted Lewis one of the top players and the league’s best designated hitter.
“It was very special to be appreciated by other players, my coach and my friends,” Lewis said.
Lewis, a single-sport Falcon athlete, found himself filling multiple roles on an understaffed and inexperienced baseball team this season. A former heavy rotation pitcher, Lewis stepped away from the mound because of problems with his left knee after a lingering injury sustained during his sophomore year.
“It didn’t feel natural any more,” said Lewis of his pitching motion and especially planting his left leg. “I was sad to not perform as well as I wanted to on the mound.”
First-year head coach Tom Fallon plugged Lewis in at first base, third base and pulled him from the field as the team’s designated hitter at the third spot in South Whidbey’s lineup, the role he played about half of the games.
“It was a very challenging season in that we had so few bodies,” Fallon said, adding that his varsity squad often traveled with only 10 players most of the year. “There were only so many moves we could make.”
That worked out fine for Lewis. One of the reasons he played baseball for 12 years (and only baseball since he was in middle school) was the thrill of putting bat on ball and watching the ball soar.
“It’s so rewarding when you make contact,” Lewis said.
My oh my, did Lewis make contact. The four-year varsity Falcon finished the season with a .465 batting average, 18 RBI and three home runs. One of those home runs happens to be the most memorable hit of Lewis’ career and in his most memorable game. In an elimination game in the 1A tri-district playoffs, the 6-foot-1, 208-pound Lewis stepped to the plate against Charles Wright Academy’s ace, a pitcher committed to play for Wake Forest University in North Carolina. Tied in the seventh, Lewis jacked a home run to dead center field to bring home fellow senior Aaron Curfman and give the Falcons an improbable 7-5 lead and put his team three outs from advancing in the playoffs.
Charles Wright came back, tied the game in the bottom of the seventh and won the game in the next extra inning. That sent South Whidbey and Lewis packing, clearing out their lockers and hanging up their cleats.
That was probably the last time Lewis will take to a baseball field in uniform. He plans to switch his pursuits from the baseball diamond to the computer lab.
The joy of playing games has a couple of dimensions for Lewis, who moonlights as a computer savant and gamer. His teammates probably didn’t know, or if they did, they rarely talked about it, but Lewis logged some serious hours playing Skyrim and Fallout when he wasn’t busy studying or practicing.
Even gaming was a bit of an academic pursuit for Lewis, a 3.8 student at South Whidbey High School. He assembled his own desktop computer with an Intel i7-2700 processor up to 3.6 GHz, a GeForce GTX 680 video card, 16 GB of DDR3 RAM, a 240 SSD (solid-state drive) hard drive and a 1TB Western Digital hard drive. All that leads to seamless visuals while dueling monsters and wizards or fighting post-nuclear apocalyptic bad guys on a monstrous 24-inch monitor.
While hardware assembly was fun for Lewis, he envisions his future in software. Already accepted to the University of Washington, Lewis plans to pursue a degree in computer science and eventually his master’s degree, too.
“I look at companies like Google and Apple and I see how intricate their stuff is,” Lewis said. “I want to create something like that.”
Patience may come in handy for Lewis again as he learns to craft the next touchpad software, the next Apple OS or whatever Google has in store.