Former Beckman Blazer baseball standout Jackson Bennett graduated from high school in the spring of 2018. He continued his education and baseball career at Kirkwood Community College this past year while carrying a 3.90 earned run average (ERA) with 36 strikeouts in 30 innings pitched.
Oct. 30, Bennett announced on Twitter that he had committed to play Division I college baseball at Michigan State University. He took his visit to East Lansing, Mich., Oct. 26, and that trip made his decision much easier.
“I had been contacted by various schools,” Bennett said, “but I didn’t have it narrowed down until I visited MSU.”
After having a senior year of high school with a .455 batting average, 44 runs batted in, a 1.82 ERA and 70 strikeouts, he chose to take the junior college route. He said that he was very confident in the coaches at Kirkwood and that they would do whatever they could to help him reach the next level.
“Kirkwood was an excellent transition,” Angie Bennett, Jackson’s mother, said. “Todd Rima, the head coach, has been working with college baseball players for a long time. Jackson has said many times that he trusts Coach Rima.”
A child growing up has many coaches that guide them along the way. Bennett has had many positive influences on his baseball game on and off the field.
“Coach Tom Jenk Jr. will always be the one who sticks out to me,” he said. “And my mom never turned me down when it came to playing a game of catch.”
“Jackson didn’t want a graduation party,” Angie Bennett said. “Rather, he asked me to get him a personalized glove. It has 2 Timothy 1:7, one of the many bible verses his grandma urged him to memorize and has ‘Grandma’ and ‘Coach Jenk’ stitched into the leather.”
With Michigan State being a Big Ten baseball team, there is the possibility that there will be matchups in Iowa City in the coming years between Jackson’s Spartans and the Iowa Hawkeyes.
“I expect there to be a lot of family members and close friends in attendance,” Jackson said. “It will also be cool to play on the same field as some fellow Dubuque County guys like Sam Link and Sam Goodman.”
His mother also added that a few trips to East Lansing will be happening with some of their family.
“A favorite part has been how much fun we have had with it,” Angie Bennett said. “The road trips to games, his grandma cheering him on, the community following the teams, his grandpa cutting every box score out of the paper and all the memories that go along with it.”
Although Jackson has a lot more baseball in his future, he isn’t looking past this upcoming season with Kirkwood.
“My next goal is to win a national championship with the rest of my Kirkwood teammates this spring,” he said.
Many baseball fans often romanticize the game of baseball. Angie Bennett said that baseball and Jackson have always gone together.
“All of his baby pictures have a ball or bat in them,” she said, “and I would find him asleep as a toddler with his glove instead of a blanket. Jackson just loves the game. Tom Jenk Jr. would always say, ‘Jackson and I are just baseball guys. We love the game.’”
Jackson and his Kirkwood teammates get their season started Friday, Feb. 28, at Johnson County Community College.