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Sports

Jake Oliger’s Work Ethic Paid Off In Helping Babson To First College World Series Appearance

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It may be the offseason, but former Newtown High School baseball player Jake Oliger (class of 2016) is hard at work hitting and working out as he prepares for his senior year on the collegiate baseball diamonds.

Oliger is an outfielder for the Babson College Beavers of Wellesley, Mass., and is coming off a stellar junior season in which Babson reached the Division III College World Series for the first time in program history and ascended into the top five in a pair of national polls for the first time in program history.

The Beavers finished third in the final d3baseball.com rankings. Oliger helped Babson to a 30-10 record. Babson defeated Trinity in the final of the Hartford Regional and won a pair of one-run contests against Cortland to also win the Super Regionals and advance to the College World Series in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Following a ten-inning 7-6 loss to Johns Hopkins in their World Series debut, the Beavers rallied from a four-run deficit in the ninth inning to edge Heidelberg 6-5 in an elimination game in early June. The season ended in a 6-5 loss to Johns Hopkins the next day.

“It was incredible to be there,” Oliger said of competing in the World Series.

“We have a really good team culture. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is and how it’s helped us improve during the past few years,” said Oliger, who is studying business with a concentration in marketing.

This year, in 49 games, Oliger hit .344 with eight home runs, 57 runs batted in, 40 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases.

In three seasons with Babson, Oliger has played in 110 games. In 378 at-bats, he has collected 122 hits, ten of which were home runs, and 24 doubles. Oliger has stolen 28 bases. He has a career batting average of .323 and an on-base percentage of .428.

“What most impresses me is if you can hit for average, power, and on-base percentage,” said Josh Hull, who coached Oliger in fall baseball for a couple of seasons. “To be able to be selective and aggressive … that is so incredibly difficult. To be able to do both is really extraordinary. Most guys have to be either in a swing-the-bat mentality, or in a see-some-pitches mentality — very tough to operate in the sweet spot between those two poles.”

Hull best remembers Oliger for his great work ethic. Along with teammate Jack Procaccini, he showed up for games well in advance and had team members out on the field stretching and warming up on chilly, damp fall mornings, Hull recalls.

“They just set the standard for work ethic,” Hull said.

“I once asked Jake, how much do you love baseball?” Hull recalls. “He replied, ‘we had Christmas dinner at noon. By 2 pm, I was hitting in the cage.’ That’s how much he is devoted to his craft.”

Oliger has a batting cage at his house and had a membership that allowed him holiday access to a cage a couple years back, affording him the opportunity to hone his swing on Christmas Day.

“I like to see the improvements every day,” Oliger said.

Newtown High School Athletic Director Matt Memoli, formerly the baseball coach at NHS, first met Oliger when Memoli ran summer baseball camps for youth players in town and later coached Oliger with the high school team.

“I think he’s one of the hardest working kids I’ve ever seen,” Memoli said. “He takes batting practice after practice, before practice, after games. He just works so hard. To see it culminate into success at the collegiate level is so fun.”

Jake Oliger swings the bat for Babson College this past year. (Photo courtesy of Babson Athletics)
Jake Oliger helped Babson reach the Division III College World Series for the first time in program history. (Photo courtesy of Babson Athletics)
Jake Oliger and the Babson baseball team had a successful season. (Photo courtesy of Babson Athletics)
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