When asked about their favorite sports memory, nearly any athlete — professional, collegiate or even Little League — will recount their moment in the sun: a 3-point shot made as the buzzer sounds or a game-winning touchdown against a rival.
But for Occidental baseball pitching coach Jacob Blodgett ‘12, this memory is a little different.
In lieu of a personal accomplishment, he remembers a game played on his Senior Day at Occidental alongside teammate and friend Josh Throckmorton ‘12. Throckmorton had been an infielder for his first three years for the Tigers before transitioning to pitching in his last season.
“We were playing Claremont, and I went out in the ninth inning and got the first out,” Blodgett said. “And then I got to hand the ball off to [Throckmorton] to get the second out in that inning. That was a really cool moment for me.”
A self-described introvert, Blodgett does not seem to fit the mold of a charismatic and strong-willed collegiate coach. And yet, the young assistant coach is praised for his work by both his athletes and colleagues.
Blodgett began his playing career at Occidental in 2009 after attending Loyola Marymount University (LMU) and West Los Angeles College (WLAC). He played for three seasons in Eagle Rock as a relief pitcher.
“My career here was great,” Blodgett said. “I just loved all the guys that I got a chance to play with. Part of the reason why I wanted to stay on as a coach is because of the senior class now — who I had a chance to play with for two years — are still some of my best friends as well. And so getting a chance to work with them on the field is a lot of fun.”
At the same time that Blodgett was graduating, the team’s previous pitching coach, Adam Morgan, left the program. Blodgett, who had already worked at Occidental baseball summer camps and assisted with the junior varsity team, applied for the position to head coach Luke Wetmore.
“I guess Wetmore went crazy that day and gave me a shot at it,” Blodgett said.
According to Wetmore, Blodgett’s dedication and straightforwardness as an athlete continue to serve him well as a coach.
“[Blodgett] is comfortable in who he is,” Wetmore said. “He was that way as a player, and he is that way as a coach. He’s a little salty, and I love that about him. But he’s also a worker. That quality he had as a baseball player has also shown up in the office.”
Starting pitcher Mitch Margolis (senior) believes these qualities — as well as his connection with Tiger baseball — also strengthened Blodgett’s relationship with the current athletes.
“He kind of expects the same out of us as a coach as he did as a senior leader and a teammate,” Margolis said. “And knowing what he was like as a player and knowing the work that he put in, it’s kind of easy to be able to listen to someone who has been through it.”
Although Blodgett predominantly works with pitchers, he also helps with recruiting and is in charge of organizing the team’s community outreach.
He was instrumental in coordinating the inaugural SCIAC Home Run Derby on April 6, which raised money for cancer research institute and treatment facility City of Hope. His internship last summer with the non-profit organization — where he helped set up its new online donation system — inspired him to think that an athletic event might be an effective fundraiser.
“It kind of all just fell into place,” Blodgett said. “It was a really great day. It was one of the cool ways to get both baseball and the nonprofit — both things that I really like to do — to come together.”
In addition to his work for the Occidental baseball program, Blodgett is the Co-Chairman of Finance and Administration at the college and helps plan large events on campus such as commencement and the dedication of the McKinnon Center for Global Affairs.
While he currently remains committed to Tiger baseball, Blodgett also expressed interest in pursuing a career in sport communications or with a non-profit organization.
“He’s got a place in my program for as long as he wants to be a part of it,” Wetmore said. “We’ll hang onto him as long as we can, but I think he’s destined for bigger things than [Division-III] baseball.”