It was shortly after 6 p.m. on an August night in 2015 when Evansville native Jerad Eickhoff made his way onto a pitching mound in Miami, Florida. It was the first time he would pitch for the Philadelphia Phillies.
“When I first took the mound, it was just a surreal experience,” says the Mater Dei High School and Olney Central College graduate. “My whole life I had dreamt of that moment, and there I was, toeing the rubber, facing Dee Gordon of the Miami Marlins.”
After basking in the moment of his debut, Eickhoff would go on to pitch six shutout innings. It was a beautiful start to what the 26-year-old hopes to be a long career.
During his first full season with the Phillies, Eickhoff recorded 11 wins and 14 losses with 33 game starts and 167 strikeouts. He and his college sweetheart Morgan tied the knot Dec. 3, 2016, in Evansville.
What do you miss most about Evansville?
Most importantly, I miss getting to spend time with family. Being gone for seven to eight months at a time, you miss out on a lot of things. I have to add, I do miss some of the signature food I’ve grown accustomed to — Azzip, Kempf’s Donut Bank, and Hacienda to name a few.
What do you enjoy most about the sport?
The camaraderie and togetherness with teammates. Baseball is unique in that you play a large number of regular season games in what some call a marathon of a season. You spend so much time with your teammates, you feed on each other’s success, and come together to collectively compete to win games against the best.
What is your strongest asset as a player?
I think it is my work ethic. There’s so many things in the game of baseball, and in life for that matter, that happen that are out of my control. However, the one thing I can control is how hard I work.
What do you hope to accomplish in your career?
My main goal would be to have a long and successful career, to play as long as my body will allow me to. With that being said, this career has given me a platform in which I can help others and give back. There are so many people who have helped me get to where I am today. I hope to be as influential and encouraging to others as they were to me.