From the moment he made his varsity debut as a freshman, all Jacob Eubanks has done since is hit.
Limited by injury to just 20 at-bats as a freshman, Eubanks made his presence felt by hitting .300 with five RBIs and five runs scored while drawing six walks. For added measure, he was 4-for-4 in the stolen base department.
He hasn’t stopped since, hitting .436 with 23 RBIs for the El Dorado Oilers last summer after the coronavirus pandemic ended the high school season in March.
Now Eubanks will get the opportunity to play at the next level.
Eubanks recently signed with Arkansas Rich Mountain.
“I was hoping to go to a JUCO somewhere close, and Rich Mountain was a new JUCO that I knew a lot of people,” Eubanks said. “I knew the coaches and they were pretty good. I thought that was the best place to go.”
Eubanks will be reunited with Jeff Burson, who was Smackover’s head coach for two years before leaving to take an assistant coaching job there last year.
“Coach Burson helped me out a whole bunch,” Eubanks said. “He helped me become the baseball player I am now.”
During his career at Smackover, Eubanks has also emerged as a stalwart in the Bucks’ rotation.
As a sophomore, he helped propel the Bucks to the regional tournament by firing a three-hitter against Prescott in a crucial conference game.
Last summer with the Oilers, Eubanks posted a 1.93 ERA over 25 1/3 innings with 24 strikeouts, and Eubanks said he will get the chance to be a two-way player in college.
“I wanted the two years to better myself in baseball, and JUCO’s are the best options for that,” said Eubanks, who added he was focused strictly on junior colleges when looking at schools.
Eubanks said his relationship with Burson helped steer him to the Bucks.
“Coach Burson was our coach, and I knew him pretty well,” Eubanks said. “He was one of the better coaches I’ve had. I knew that he knew a lot about what he was talking about. Then he went over to Rich Mountain, and that helped my decision more. I knew him and (Lance) Spigner are two really good coaches.”
As Smackover gets ready to start the 2021 season this week, Eubanks believes the Bucks are set to have a solid campaign.
“I feel pretty good about myself and the team,” Eubanks said. “We’ll have to see how it goes. We’re limited on pitching. We don’t have as many arms as we did last year. We lost a bunch of the starters, but our secondary was also pretty good, so I don’t think we’ll really lose much. I think we’ll still do pretty good.”
With Josh Wesson in his first year at Smackover, Eubanks is being counted on not only to produce on the field, but also be a leader for the team.
“I’ve got to be one of the leaders of the team, especially being a senior this year,” Eubanks said. “Really just talk the guys up and show them what to do, help them out if they have any problems.”
When asked what he wanted to accomplish both from a personal and team perspective, Eubanks said there were two goals he had in mind.
“For a personal, mine is always my hitting average. I always want to get to .400 or above,” Eubanks said. “For team, I want to make it to state and make it as far as we can go for my last year.”