From Expendable To Essential
When someone first meets Jackson they are greeted by one of the nicest baseball players on campus. Tan skin, chiseled frame and a big smile is what you picture when you think of the typical baseball player. Overlund is determined, motivated and after a breakout 2017 season for the Wolverines, he believes he can be even more productive this year. Although confident in his game, he’ll always remember what got him there.
“When I was about two my dad put a bat in my hand and let me swing it around. I’ve been playing ever since,” said Overlund.
Overlund played both hockey and baseball while Growing up in Grand Rapids, Mich. His dad coached him in little league baseball until he was 12 but then moved on to “travel ball”. This meant travelling throughout various states while playing teams that were typically more competitive. As for hockey, Overlund ultimately chose to focus on baseball after his sophomore year in high school because that’s where he saw a brighter future.
After being a standout player for his high school team, Jackson committed to play college baseball at Cochise College in Douglas, Ariz.. When he arrived on campus, he was thrown into the role of being the designated hitter during his Freshman season. After a strong freshman year, he earned a starting job at first base and then ultimately moved to the outfield where he found his home. With two productive years under his belt at Cochise, he had one offer to play for Lubbock Christian University in Texas.
“I only had one offer from a school in Texas, and I had just talked to UVU and Colorado Mesa,” Overlund said, “I looked into all of the schools a little bit more and figured Utah Valley would be my best fit so I committed as a walk on.”
During his first fall season at UVU, Overlund quickly turned into a standout player and was finding himself a starting job in the outfield. Constantly in the cages and putting in the extra work, he was determined to make himself the best player possible and contribute as much as he could to the team come spring season. When winter exit meetings rolled around, Overlund was told by the coaching staff that when he first came to the team they thought he was going to be “expendable” and “just a player to fill a spot”. The coaching staff were happily surprised, and he turned into an essential player for the team.
Overlund started every game but one and ended the year with a .342 batting average, 22 doubles, 3 triples, 6 home runs and 34 RBI’s. The 22 doubles slotted him second in the WAC and tied for 22nd in the entire country. A stat line like this would give any player a boost of confidence going into their senior year.
“I have high hopes for this year. I feel we have a lot of good guys on our team that can contribute in many ways. I expect us to make a name for Utah Valley in the baseball community.” Overlund said. “We open up with a schedule that would be tough for any team, but I believe we can beat those tough teams and in doing so, that can put UVU baseball on the map.”