ROSEBURG, Oregon – Umpqua Community College (UCC) is stepping up to the plate to bring back college baseball. Following a 35-year hiatus, the first game of the 2020 season will be played on Saturday, Feb. 22. The scheduled double-header games will be played at the newly-renovated One Champion Field near Stewart Park.
Two years ago, UCC made a business decision to bring baseball back as a competitive sport. The idea was two-fold: Boost enrollment and provide local athletes the opportunity to stay and play closer to home. The first year was a building one. Now that it’s year two, it’s time for the 40-man roster to play ball.
One of the local athletes who is taking advantage of this ‘stay and play’ opportunity is Jacob Luther. He grew up in Roseburg, attended Umpqua Valley Christian School, and has played baseball since he could walk. The right-hander has been looking forward to this for a long time.
“I love this game and the atmosphere around it,” Luther said. “I’m very competitive. My dad played baseball in high school and he taught me a lot of what I know about [the game].”
Groomed to be an athlete, Luther wanted to continue his baseball career for as long as he could. During his sophomore or junior year, he started to hear about baseball coming back to UCC.
“The timing was perfect for me because that’s about the time people start thinking about college,” Luther said. “And when I found out Coach [Jeremiah] Robbins was also coming back home to lead the program, that was it.”
Luther started classes this past Fall term. He is currently studying general education with an interest in becoming an electrician someday.
“I like working with my hands,” he said. “I want to do something that will keep me in shape and that will pay well enough to provide for a family. It seems like a good job and a good match for me.”
Along with his performance on the field, Luther has also been consistently hitting home runs in the classroom.
“So far, I have all As and one B,” he said. “The B was in writing. I’m not a great writer. My sister got all those skills. She’s majoring in English at Oregon State University. I’m kinda jealous of that… but I do have a 116% in Math.”
Luther enjoys UCC because it’s all about pushing yourself.
“It’s all on you,” he said. “You have to take ownership of your studies and yourself.”
On the field and off, Luther says he has built relationships with his teammates; some he even played against while growing up. He says the team puts a lot of faith in their coach and their practices are tough.
“Our coaches preach all of the time that we are building a lifestyle and that attitude and effort mean everything,” Luther said. “Be prepared to put in the work. It’s all about taking ownership and putting in the work. You have to be prepared. Simple success is nice. It’s a great feeling when you accomplish something.”
Luther is currently playing second base but says he will play anywhere [Robbins] puts him. And wherever he ends up, he’s ready for any challenge that’s thrown his way on his new home turf.
“I’m so excited for it,” Luther said. “This has been my home field for four years. The field was getting rough. It’s incredible now and it’s a real blessing for us to be able to play here. It’s an amazing field.”
About Umpqua Community College
Nestled in the beautiful North Umpqua River Valley, Umpqua Community College is the regional center for higher education in Douglas County, Oregon. UCC provides high quality college degree programs, workforce development, and community learning opportunities.
Head Baseball Coach