Watson Helping Steal Victories for Rutgers-Camden

by Marc Narducci | Apr 10, 2024
Watson Helping Steal Victories for Rutgers-Camden
Sophomore outfielder Jacob Watson is a master thief and already the best base stealer in Rutgers-Camden baseball history. A graduate of Delsea, Watson chose Rutgers-Camden hoping to be a two-way player as a pitcher and an outfielder.

The pitching part hasn’t worked, but he sure has made a major offensive impact during his Rutgers-Camden career to date.

Watson began the week with 62 career steals, which is the Rutgers-Camden record in that category. The previous mark was 54 set by Josh Kashtrava, who played from 1997-2000.

It took Watson less than a year and a half to break the record.

“I feel great, I love playing for this team and I love the group of guys I am with, they are always encouraging me,” Watson said. “They are always telling me how fast I am. I don’t believe it.”

He doesn’t believe it?

During his freshman season, Watson set a single-season school stolen base mark with 33 in 36 attempts. This season he began the week 29-for-33.

That is an 89.9 percent success rate.

“Each time I get on base, I try to steal the base,” he said.

Of course, to steal bases, a player has to reach base and Watson has had no problem doing that. 

He began the week hitting a team-high .375 and scoring a team-best 30 runs. Last year Watson led the Scarlet Raptors in hitting with a .338 average. 

One could say that Watson has exceeded the early expectations from coach Ryan Kulik.

“I didn’t know he would play this well,” said Kulik, a former star pitcher at Cherokee and Rowan, who spent seven seasons in the minor leagues. “I knew he was a good player and could run, but I thought he would be a pitcher for us at some point, but he took off with it offensively in the fall last year.”

One thing that Watson hasn’t stopped dreaming about is pitching. He admits to constantly bugging Kulik about getting on the mound.

“He wants to pitch, but I don’t think that’s going to happen,” Kulik said smiling. 

Actually, Watson puts too much pressure on opposing teams with his base running. 

Watson has resigned himself to never getting on the mound, even though he keeps dreaming.

“I tell him all the time, I want to throw but he is never going to let it happen,” Watson said while cracking up.

What isn’t a laughing matter is this season’s Rutgers Camden team. The Scarlet Raptors began the week 18-6 overall and 5-1 in the always difficult New Jersey Athletic Conference.

The Scarlet Raptors have designs of being among the six teams to make the NJAC tournament, which this year will be held at Rutgers Camden.

“This team is one of the best teams I ever played on and we have a bunch of guys who came into this season ready to work,” Watson said. “We have a winning mindset.”

For Watson, he hopes it is a continuation of his senior year at Delsea, when the Crusaders won the South Jersey Group 3 title in 2022, beating Ocean City, 4-0 in the championship game.

“That was the best feeling ever,” Watson said. 

He is hoping to duplicate that feeling this year, while continuing to create havoc on the base paths during an already record-setting career that has plenty of baseball left.

Photo: Jacob Watson / by Marc Narducci


Article continues below


Author: Marc Narducci


Who’s Who in Health Care

Ahead of the Curve

Money Matters

Going Greener and Cleaner

Self-Made Man

Building Toward the Future

Phillies Fans Already Looking to October

Alessandrini Ends Her HS Career with Milestone Performance

A Holistic Approach

On The Move

Looking at the South Jersey Division Winners in High School Baseball

Firing Up

A Look Into The Eagles 2024-25 Schedule

A Look Around the Links

Drinking it All In