Minooka southpaw pitcher Josh Jimenez is eying up his last games while wearing an Indians baseball uniform this weekend. It will complete four years of playing baseball for the locals, the last three coming as a member Jeff Petrovic's varsity team.
Heading into Friday's contest, Jimenez had an 11-2 record with a 1.68 ERA. After Saturday and his final game with the Indians, the senior will be shifting gears and start thinking of his freshman year at Bellarmine University where he will pitch for the Knights.
But first things first — right now Jimenez is intent on helping his Indians at the IHSA Class 4A State Tournament.
Before heading to Silver Cross Field in Joliet on Friday, Jimenez took some time out of his busy schedule to engage the Morris Daily Herald in a question and answer session.
Q. You had told me earlier in the week that this is the most fun you have ever had playing baseball. Can you put that into words for our readers?
A. The atmosphere of playoff baseball and making a push in the postseason is just by far the most fun I have had playing baseball. The rush of all the close games, and the competitiveness of everyone really brings out the fun of it.
Q. Do you remember when you started playing the game of baseball and the team you were on?
A. I started playing when I was four-years old for a t-ball league in Romeoville with my two cousins.
Q. What was your motivation to play the game at the start?
A. Just to have fun, I didn't really start to get very competitive with it until I was probably in sixth or seventh grade.
Q. Did you have any athletic influences growing up?
A. I actually wasn't very into paying attention to sports or watching them growing up, so probably my athletic influences were my parents and my uncle.
Q. When did you decide you wanted to be a pitcher?
A. I think I was in sixth grade when I started to pitch a little bit and I was not very good at it at all.
Q. You are a pitcher only at the high school level. Has it always been that way? If not when did you start getting DHed for?
A. I played first base until I was a freshman. My freshman year I would occasionally play first in 'B' games. I became a full pitcher only when I was a sophomore.
Q. Do you miss hitting or do the benefits of being able to relax between innings make it worth it?
A. It can go either way. Sometimes I do miss hitting and being in every game like I was when I was younger. But at the same time it is nice to be able to just focus on one thing in a game or in the offseason.
Q. Can you take me through your college recruiting process and did things pan out the way you were hoping they would?
A. It was very stressful. Going to camps or showcases every weekend in the winter, and travel tournaments every weekend in the summer. I think things did pan out like I wanted them to, I love the school I'm going to and I'm happy with the decision I made.
Q. You've got one last weekend in your high school career and you get the chance to end it at state. Has it dawned on you yet that this is it for you and your teammates playing together?
A. I have definitely thought about it but as of right now it doesn't feel real yet. A lot of us have played with each other for much longer than just high school baseball so not playing with them next year is definitely going to be a big change.
Q. If you had a piece of advice for a young baseball player who will be going to Minooka Community High School who was wanting to help carry on the Indians tradition, what would it be?
A. I would say just to listen to your coaches, whether you think so or not what they tell you to do will help you in the short run or in the long run. Do the little things at practice and work hard.