Batter Breakdown: Jake Dunham

James Krause

Name: Jake Dunham

Position: Catcher/Infielder

Hometown: Plainfield

Favorite Sports Team: Chicago White Sox

“It’s my hometown team,” Dunham said. “I’ve gone to see them plenty of times, and I’m not a fair weather fan, so I can’t switch to the Cubs.”

Favorite Athlete: Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels

“Not only is he the best player in the game, he’s humble,” Dunham said. “He’s not too rah-rah. He kind of reminds me of my own personality.”

Favorite pitcher on the team to catch for: Tanner Foster and Michael Lasiewicz

“Both of them know what they’re doing out there,” Dunham said. “They both kind of give us the freedom to work together and do some things other guys aren’t able to do. They’re really able to command their stuff, and they make me look good most of the time.”

Lasiewicz and Foster are the top two pitchers for the Huskies in terms of ERA and strikeouts. Lasiewicz also leads the team in wins with five.

Pre-game ritual: Peace and quiet

“Before every game, I do a small devotional in my bible in the locker room,” Dunham said. “I try to take five minutes to just close my eyes and just focus on breathing and focus on the game, try to allow myself to be clear-headed once we take the field. I always try to text my mom, tell her how I’m feeling and how [batting practice] went.”

Favorite Baseball memory: Reaching state semi-finals in high school at Plainfield North

“When I was a senior in high school, we got to play in the state semi-finals,” Dunham said. “It was the farthest the program had ever got, and it was a surreal experience. Half the school showed up, and it was incredible.”

Why they enjoy playing for NIU: Coaching staff

“I enjoy the things I can learn, especially from Coach Stewart,” Dunham said. “I think he’s a great guy. I think he’s a smart, intelligent, hitting coach, and I can learn a lot from him.”

Dunham has a .265 batting average heading into the final stretch of the season. He also leads the team with 20 RBIs on the season.

Dunham started 42 games as a catcher in his freshman season. This year Dunham bounced between starts behind the plate and starts as a first baseman.

Dunham was also added to the watch list for the Johnny Bench Award, an award from the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission to the best catcher in D-I college baseball. Dunham is one of only 13 sophomores on the list that includes 112 catchers.

Dunham and the Huskies will take on the Ball State Cardinals in a three-game series starting 2 p.m. Friday in Muncie, Indiana.