Monthly Archives: January 2019

From Japan to America, Akiya Pursuing Dream at UJ

By Andy Reed

Kensaku (Ken) Akiya is not your average University of Jamestown Student.

Ken hails all the way from Tokyo, Japan where he was born and raised until he was 18 when he left to pursue his dream of a University education and collegiate level baseball.

Kens journey to America starts with a tryout of him, and other Japanese baseball players showcasing their skills to teams in the NWAC (Northwest Athletic Conference), Washington, Oregon and British Columbia’s elite junior college sports conference.

“We hopped on a plane and headed for Washington,” Ken explains. “I tried out for Edmonds, Tacoma, Centralia, Clark, Chemeketa and Skagit Valley. Every school we went to, we either got offered a spot right there, or we did not make the team. Every college wanted me, which made me very excited and gave me a lot of options to choose where I would go.”

Ken goes on about his choice, “Chemeketa’s head coach told me that I could be in the starting rotation right away if I signed, so it was a pretty easy decision.”

Chemeketa Community College is located in Salem, Oregon and is in the South Division of the NWAC..

Ken informed me that he did not speak English at all when he first got to Salem.

“The advisor told me what classes to take, I didn’t understand her, so I just said yes. Class didn’t really teach me English, my teammates did.”

Ken spent two years at Chemeketa and completed all his courses while playing baseball. He received his Associates in Arts and Sciences and became fluent in English. The journey was not over however, Ken had dreams of playing for a University and getting an Undergraduate Degree in Health and Fitness Administration.

Ken had offers from schools in NCAA Division 1, Division 2 and NAIA coming out of Chemeketa.

“University of Portland, Upper Iowa University, Western Oregon University, Concordia University, Corban University, Saint Martin’s University and University of Jamestown all offered me scholarships. I chose Jamestown because Coach Hager called me two or three times one week and he was very persuasive and persistent which made me feel like he really wanted me to play there.”

Ken signed his letter of intent and headed east to Jamestown, North Dakota. Ken moved into an apartment in Liechty Hall. His roommates are three other players from the NWAC, including myself.

Ken explains how he feels about Jamestown after having lived here for a little more than a semester, “It is very different here than anywhere I have ever been before. It is way too cold.”

Ken and the Jamestown Jimmies played 5 games in the fall. Ken started the 2nd game of fall against Valley City.

“I was very excited to start my first game against our rivals. I gave up 6 runs, but it is okay because we won.”

Ken has 5 innings under his belt with plenty of more to come. The future is very bright for this persistent young man with a dream.

Home Away From Home: Larson Center Stands Above Competition

By Isaiah Sampson

The Larson Sports center was built in 1980 where it houses many of our athletic departments, exercise facilities, and classrooms.

In 2007, the school decided to make plans to accommodate inside training in the winter for teams such as track, baseball, and softball.

The 12,000 square foot addition was constructed later in the year. The school continued it’s plans to produce better facilities for our students by adding a brand new weight room in 2018.

The Foss Wellness Center was built in 2008 where all of the physical education and training resides. The center was a gift from Dr. Merle L. and Dr. Peggy J. Foss. Both contributed tremendously to the academic enrichment fund.

All of these additions to the school make the university stand out a little more from the competition.

My featured guest or better yet my model for the day was Daniel Deck.

Daniel was born in Phoenix, AZ where he learned to love and play football. From there, he started to get noticed by coaches because of his snapping skills. He attended Phoenix college first before getting recruited here. Once up here on his visit, Daniel said” this is way better weather than being in 125 degree weather”.

I don’t know why, but Daniel walks around campus in a short sleeve shirt and shorts almost everyday. So I guess he was serious about this being better weather than AZ.

Being born in Michigan and moving to Alabama was pretty rough for me and was a culture shock. But I can see where Daniel is coming from. If my hometown felt like hell 365 days out the year and then I moved to ND for school, I would be happy as well.

I asked Daniel how his old schools training facility compared to here.

“It was like going from a flip phone to the iPhone X,” he stated.

That’s a pretty big jump if you ask me.

The school is moving in the right directions into making this place the best it can be.

I can only imagine the steps they’re taking in the next 4-5 years to improve the school and its facilities. Not only in athletics, but the school as a whole.