Finnegan Never Stops Working with the Warriors
Jack Finnegan is proving reliable infielder on the Valley Regional baseball team in his junior season this spring. Jack’s commitment to excellence is playing a major role in the success of a Warriors’ squad that posted a regular-season record of 18-2 and recently advanced to the Shoreline Conference Tournament championship game.
Jack’s baseball career began in his childhood years. He started by learning the fundamentals of the sport and worked his way up to begin playing travel baseball by the time he was eight. Jack also played soccer and basketball at times in his life, but baseball has stuck with him throughout the constant cycle of spring and fall ball seasons. Jack dedicated himself to the game at an early age, and those efforts are helping him make a big-time impact as he competes on the Warriors’ diamond in high school.
“I started playing travel baseball early on, probably when I was around eight years old, and I think that’s helped me become a better player and definitely has given me a lot of experience in games,” says Jack. “Travel definitely gave me a lot of good experience. I was definitely used to the amount of playing that we did.”
Jack’s freshman season at Valley was canceled due to COVID, but he embraced the opportunity that he received as a sophomore. Jack saw time at both the varsity and JV levels, mainly filling in as a defensive sub for the varsity squad. Now, Jack plays shortstop and occasionally pitches in relief for the Warriors. In his second year on the team, Jack loves the vibe in Valley’s dugout and appreciates the level of comfort that comes with competing alongside lifelong friends.
“I love the atmosphere. I love playing with all of my friends. We’ve played together for a long time, so we love playing together,” Jack says. “We’re always cheering each other on from the dugout, and it’s just a lot of fun to win with these guys. We get super excited for the wins and, even when things aren’t going great, we’re there to pick each other up, and I think that’s really important.”
Jack’s impact on the field goes beyond his contributions in the Warriors’ batting order. The junior is looked to as a leader by Valley Head Coach Brian Drinkard, who admires Jack’s talents as a baseball player and the unique attributes that he brings to the program.
“He’s our everyday shortstop. He’s a quiet leader on the field. He’s not the most vocal player on our team, but he does lead by example,” says Drinkard of Jack. “More than any other player on our team, he stays after practice. He asks the coaches for extra reps. He’s constantly trying to get better and improve as a baseball player.”
Jack’s desire to improve has led to him playing an integral role in the Warriors’ success in 2022. During the regular season, Jack led the team on-base percentage at .536 and was second in batting average with a .409 clip. Jack’s emergence as a steady hitter is making a big difference in the success of a Valley squad that’s having an exceptional season and has won 14-consecutive games heading into the conference final. Jack takes his role as a starter seriously by competing hard on every play.
“I take pride in doing my job to the best of my ability. As a part of this team, I feel it’s my responsibility to help out in any way I can,” Jack says. “The fact that I’ve been entrusted to be a part of the lineup and to be on the field most days means a lot to me. I just want to contribute as best I can, and that’s what really drives me.”
As a team, the Warriors are doing everything the right way to lead themselves to victory. Jack feels that sticking up for one another and supporting each other is important for every player’s individual growth and performance.
“We’re all comfortable playing with each other. We all know what we’re capable of, and we trust each other to have each other’s backs,” says Jack. “When someone messes up, someone else always steps up and helps them out. There’s never any blame on anyone, and it’s a good atmosphere to be a part of.”
Jack recognizes his role and embraces his opportunity to contribute to the greater good for the Warriors. Whether he’s at shortstop, in the batter’s box, or on the mound, Jack understands that he has to perform to the best of his ability no matter where Coach Drinkard plays him. Jack knows his strengths and the things that he needs to do in order to help Valley win ballgames.
“I’m not necessarily a power hitter. I leave that to some of the other guys in our lineup to really crush the ball,” Jack says. “I take pride in the fact that I typically put the ball in play and work the count, try to get the pitchers to throw more pitches.”
Despite being a talented player on a quality team, Jack’s humility still reels him back to remember that there’s always work to be done. Jack plans to keep working as hard as possible in his quest to become the best player he can be and help the Warriors achieve their postseason goals.
“I’m always working on all aspects of my game, because I still have a lot of room for improvement,” says Jack. “I just want to help the team in any way that I can.”