Ike’s Raymond earns prestigious accolades at league and state levels

By: Timothy Pontzer | Shelby - Utica News | Published July 10, 2017

 Utica Eisenhower senior second baseman Jacob Raymond waits in the on-deck circle during a contest earlier this season at Jimmy John’s Field. Raymond was named to the 2017 Dream Team after setting school records in career hits and batting average.

Utica Eisenhower senior second baseman Jacob Raymond waits in the on-deck circle during a contest earlier this season at Jimmy John’s Field. Raymond was named to the 2017 Dream Team after setting school records in career hits and batting average.

Photo provided by Jacob Raymond

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Despite spending only two seasons at the varsity level for Utica Eisenhower, Jacob Raymond cemented himself as the best hitter in program history.

With hindsight, his coach, Jason Gendreau, wishes he had called Raymond up sooner.

“That very well (may) have been a mishap on my part,” Gendreau said, chuckling. “He’s a great kid, and I may have underestimated his abilities early on. He certainly proved what he could do when he got the chance.”

Raymond collected 108 hits over his career, the top mark in the school’s annals. He notched 63 this season as a senior, the most in a single campaign for the Eagles. He boasted a .504 average at the plate, the only time the .500 mark has ever been eclipsed in Ike history.

His performance helped lead the Eagles to a 30-8 record overall, with a runner-up finish in the Macomb Area Conference Red Division. For his efforts, Raymond was named to the 2017 Dream Team, an annual list compiled by the Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association.

The grouping is considered to be the highest possible individual recognition in the state.

“It was a huge honor to be a part of the Dream Team,” Raymond said. “Personally, it has always been a dream of mine to earn it. To be recognized with the best of the best in the state of Michigan is quite an honor. All the hard work and dedication paid off this year.”

While he was officially named to the Dream Team as a second baseman — which is his usual position — Raymond also served as one of Ike’s top pitchers, posting a 0.89 ERA as a starter and reliever.

On top of the Dream Team selection, Raymond garnered All-District, All-Regional and All-Conference honors. Additionally, he was named first-team All-State, something he attributed to his in-game knowledge.

“I consider the strongest part of my game to be my baseball IQ and awareness, just knowing where to go with the ball every time it’s hit to me,” Raymond said. “I know a lot about the game and I use that to my advantage. I run the bases aggressively, but also smartly.”

His skipper agreed, also citing his work off the field for his success.

“Jacob is an incredibly smart player, and he also has tremendous drive with a work ethic that is second to none,” Gendreau said. “He has such passion for the game and backed it up. In the offseasons, he put in a lot of work, and that really changed him from a D-II college player to a D-I talent.”

Raymond will continue his baseball career at Oakland University. He said he is thrilled to be a Golden Grizzly, getting a chance to play for a college program in the same community as Ike.

“I’m extremely excited to get to OU; I can’t wait to be part of something special,” Raymond said. “Committing to play there would be the thing I’m most proud of, because I have put in so much time and effort to get to this point.”

Like Raymond, Gendreau is also bidding adieu to the Eisenhower program. After helming the Eagles for 10 seasons, he resigned from the position to take the same post at Pontiac Notre Dame Prep.

“It’s bittersweet to see Raymond go, along with a great group of seniors,” Gendreau said. “I firmly believe he was the best player in the county, and the program will definitely miss him. I think he is going to make an impact early at OU. He has the drive and skills to do it.”