Walker brothers to play baseball at Missouri State

Jackson (second from left) and Jake Walker of Jefferson City High School both sign letters of intent Wednesday to play baseball at MIssouri State University. Also seated are their parents, Cindy and Terry Walker. Standing (from left) are Jays assistant coach J.R. Simmons, head coach Brian Ash and assistant coach Kyle Lasley.

Jackson (second from left) and Jake Walker of Jefferson City High School both sign letters of intent Wednesday to play baseball at MIssouri State University. Also seated are their parents, Cindy and Terry Walker. Standing (from left) are Jays assistant coach J.R. Simmons, head coach Brian Ash and assistant coach Kyle Lasley. Photo by Julie Smith.

Jake and Jackson Walker have played baseball together in Japan. In Florida. In Virginia. They’ve shared the diamond their whole lives.

That’s not going to change when the twins at Jefferson City High School head off to college next year, as both signed a national letter of intent with Missouri State on Wednesday.

“We always talked about (signing at the same place),”Jackson, a catcher, said. “It just happened so quickly.”

Added Jake, a middle infielder and the older twin by two minutes: “Our parents wanted us to sign at the same place, but we didn’t feel that we had to. It’s going to be good that he’s going to be there with me.”

If you don’t recognize the names, don’t be alarmed. The Walkers are new to the school district, having just moved to Jefferson City in late May from Edin, Okla. Their dad, Terry Walker, is a Jefferson City native. After retiring from the Air Force last year ­— the reason for the twins playing in a multitude of locations — Walker moved the family back to Jefferson City and is now a teacher and an assistant football coach for the Jays.

“We knew our parents were moving back here so we wanted to find a place close to where they were going to be at,” Jackson said about their college choice.

Of course, that wasn’t the only factor that played into the decision.

“Baseball program’s really good, the coaches are really good, facilities,” Jake said, listing off the reasons for signing with the Bears, who are coming off a 31-23 season.

The Walker twins played for a traveling team in Springfield - the Midwest Nationals - starting in 2012, which eventually led to Missouri State offering both of them scholarships after their sophomore seasons.

“They were the first ones to offer us and it was right after our sophomore year,” Jake said. “We just stopped communicating with everyone else because we thought that would be the right thing to do.”

“We committed so early that no other teams offered us after that,” Jackson added.

Before the Walker twins head off to Missouri State, they’ll play their first and last season with the Jays in the spring.

“To have two kids like that come into your program, sometimes it’s hard for kids to fit in,” Jefferson City head baseball coach Brian Ash said, “and from Day One they haven’t stepped up and beat their chests saying, ‘I’m going to Missouri State, signing Division I.’ They’ve really fit in and they’ve kind of worked their way to gain the trust of the other players. For them to do that it really shows their character.

“They want to do what’s best to help Jefferson City High School out. Everything they’ve done in the past, they know they have one year of high-school baseball left and they want to make it the most memorable. That is really one thing that sticks out to me.”

Added Jackson: “I think we have a good team and I’m excited to get it going.”

Humble and modest to say the least, the twins realize there’s more to be done.

“Dream come true, but really the work hasn’t started yet,” Jackson said. “It’s just the beginning.”

And Ash is there to prepare the twins the best he can for the next level.

“My goal and my job is to keep pushing them to keep getting better and maybe refine a few things that they still need to work on,” he said. “That’s going to be our job as a coaching staff. Hopefully by doing that it’s going to (result) in pushing everybody to work harder. That’s exciting for me to have a couple kids like that in our program.

“They’re excited to go to Missouri State and they’re excited to be here.”

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