Warrenton senior Jakob Junker has dreamed of playing college baseball since gaining a passion for the sport as a child.
He recently made that endeavor a reality, signing a letter of intent to compete for Central Methodist University.
“I’m very excited,” expressed Junker. “It’s great to be able to keep playing the game I love and further the competition and step up to the next level of the sport.”
Junker will join former high school teammate Chad Berrey on the diamond in Fayette, but that familiarity isn’t the only reason he selected the NAIA school.
“CMU seemed perfect with the size of the program, and the coach really helped me make the decision, too,” explained Junker, who also visited Truman State and Meramec Community College.
A three-year varsity competitor for the Warriors, Junker has played multiple positions over the course of his career. This season his primary role is at first base, while he also made a pitching appearance.
Junker is batting a career-best .357 in limited at-bats after missing several games during mid-season with a strained tendon. He has 10 hits and three RBIs, while scoring five runs.
“I feel like offensively I’ve contributed more each year,” said Junker. “Defensively, I’ve also gotten better. I’ve become less timid and developed into more of a leadership role too.”
As a junior, Junker batted .281 with 16 hits, seven RBIs and seven runs.
During his sophomore season, he batted .298 with 14 hits and 10 runs scored.
Coach Eric Burle has witnessed Junker’s progress since his freshman year.
“He’s a real good athlete and has some skill set in baseball that will help,” said Burle. “I think his athleticism has stuck out since the beginning.”
Junker admits he isn’t the most vocal person on the field, but he prides himself on guiding by example.
"I’m a leader and a hard worker,” said Junker. “If you put me out there to do something, I’m going to do it for you.”
“He’s just a really good kid all around,” added Burle. “He’s strong academically.”
Junker will be joining a CMU program that entered this week’s NAIA Championships with a 25-11 overall record and 19-7 mark in the Heart of America Conference.
“Going in, their coach is talking about playing me in the outfield,” said Junker. “I don’t see myself playing an infield position, other than first base.”
Junker plans to pursue a degree in sports management.
“I want to stay around sports and embrace the business side of the sports world,” said Junker.