GREENFIELD — As a kid growing up, Drey Jameson wanted nothing more than to emulate his hero.
In the mid to late 2000s, former Greenfield-Central High School star pitcher Kyle Gibson was the standard for Jameson, like many up-and-coming youth baseball players in Hancock County.
The dream of following in his idol’s footsteps continued early on into high school for Jameson, who began to carve out his own legacy with the Cougars before he decided to go his own path.
“When I was a sophomore in high school I always said I wanted to go to (the University of) Missouri because Kyle Gibson went there. I thought it would be cool to follow someone who was very successful at Greenfield,” Jameson remarked. “I had an opportunity to go there, but I thought Ball State was the best fit.”
This weekend, Jameson will get a glimpse at his immediate future, competing in the Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association’s All-Star Series with the South team.
Jameson and many of the state’s best graduated high school seniors will play in a three-game series over two days at Ball State University, pitting the South vs. the North All-Stars with two contests on Saturday beginning at 1 p.m.
Saturday’s second game will start at 4:20 p.m. with the series finale Sunday at noon, played with wooden bats.
The event will mark Jameson’s last high school event before staying in Muncie permanently as a promising in-coming two-way freshman.
As a senior, the right-handed ace earned IHSBCA All-State honors in Class 4A and was named Prep Baseball Report’s Player of the Year in the state of Indiana.
He is one of two 2017 Ball State recruits to be recognized as the top player in their respective states by Prep Baseball Report — the other being Kyle Nicolas of Ohio.
As a senior, Jameson compiled a 6-1 record with 112 strikeouts and a 0.65 ERA. He threw a pair of no-hitters, including seven no-hit, shutout innings in the regional semifinal at Decatur Central against eventual 4A state champion Cathedral.
“It hasn’t hit me yet, that I’m out of high school. Maybe because I’m continuing to play at the next level? But there will never be another baseball like high school,” Jameson remarked. “College is a whole other level. It will hit me soon.”
The sensation will begin to sink in today on his new home field at Ball State as a South All-Star, coached by Plainfield’s Jeff McKeon.
Jameson, the unanimous 2017 Hancock County Player of the Year, is projected to pitch for the South All-Stars and see time in the outfield.
The first-team All-Hoosier Heritage Conference selection hit .404 for the sectional champion Cougars this spring and drove in 22 runs. He belted seven home runs and swiped 10 bases with nine doubles.
His numbers weren’t far off from Gibson’s in 2006 when the former Cougars ace and current starter for the Minnesota Twins went 8-6 with a 0.98 ERA and 140 strikeouts as a senior.
Gibson finished his high school career with a 15-8 record, 251 strikeouts and a 1.19 ERA with six home runs. He was an all-state selection and an Indiana All-Star while getting drafted in the 36th round by the Philadelphia Phillies.
In 2009, Gibson was drafted again out of Missouri with the 22nd overall pick by the Twins.
Undrafted out of high school, Jameson believes Ball State head coach Rich Maloney, who has a track record of producing MLB talent, could help him reach his ultimate goal. In conversations with his new coach this summer, Jameson said Maloney wants to utilize him in the field and on the mound as a freshman leader.
“I’m really excited for it. I’m also excited that I have so much weight on my shoulders going in,” Jameson said. “Maloney is a great coach and I think he’s going to develop me even more. I think Ball State is the perfect place for me to reach my dreams. Obviously, I want to be a professional baseball player.”
Over his final three high school seasons, Jameson pitched 144.2 innings with a 1.79 ERA and 245 strikeouts. His record was 12-7 overall. He hit .377 in those three years with 87 runs scored, 18 home runs and 27 doubles.
“I want to see where I stand as a baseball player my freshman year in college,” Jameson said. “I can’t wait.”