Jackson Feltt a solid closer
(Editor’s Note: The Following story appeared in the Danville Commercial-News earlier this summer highlighting Paris native and closer for the Danville Speakkers American Legion team. It is used by permission.)
DANVILLE — Dylan Dodd leads Danville Post 210 in home runs and RBIs.
Noah Nelson is the team leader in batting average, while DeVante Hicks leads the Speakers in stolen bases and runs scored.
On the pitching side, Dylan Marble has a team-high seven victories, Nelson had a team-best 1.42 ERA and Dodd leads Danville with 51 strikeouts.
But, when it comes to value there is one player that stand above them all
Right-handed reliever Jackson Feltt according to the coaches and his teammates.
“Jackson hasn’t even pitched a dozen innings this year. He doesn’t hit, and he doesn’t play the field — but he is, by and far, the most important person on the team. It’s not even close,’’ said Danville manager Allan Shepherd.
Taylor Turner, one of the four starters in the Danville rotation, says that Feltt is a special-type of teammate.
“It’s hard to find someone like him,’’ he said. “You can’t teach the things that he does for this team. He keeps everyone up in the dugout.’’
It’s that positive attitude that has allowed Feltt to assume the captain’s role on the Post 210 squad.
“That’s my role on this team,’’ Feltt said. “Since I’m not an every day player, I need to do whatever I can to make the game easier for the guys on the field. Whether it’s being supportive at times when we need that or keeping things loose.
“There are a lot of ways that you can affect the game even if you are not on the field.’’
Shepherd points out that Feltt is almost always the first guy to congratulate a pitcher coming out of the game or a hitter after clubbing a home run. Additionally, he’s also the first guy to console a player after a bad play or a bad at-bat.
“He is one of my favorite all-time teammates,’’ said Danville right-handed pitcher Dylan Marble. “He is a funny character and a great team guy.
“He will get your mind right. He is a good role model. He is always positive, you will not hear anything negative from him.’’
Coming into this season, Shepherd was worried about how Post 210 would replace leaders like Noah Darr, Mark Strebin and Blake Vinson.
“I’ve got all three of them in one guy,’’ Shepherd said. “Jackson said more in the first game this year than he did all of last year.
“He saw that we needed someone to lead and he took it.’’
Feltt also has a few other responsibilities during the game, like keeping the scorebook for the coaches on the iPad.
“I’m the pro with an iPad,’’ Feltt said. “Keeping track of the pitch counts is very important this year and I make sure that our coaches know exactly what’s happening in the game.’’
And while playing for your second straight state title is very important, don’t expect Feltt to allow things to get too serious.
In true baseball fashion, the right-handed reliever is without a doubt, the No. 1 prankster on the Post 210 team.
“Marble comes closer, but I definitely wear that crown,’’ Feltt admits.
One of his favorite targets is Danville Post 210 pitching coach Tyler Brennan.
“He is just so much fun to mess with,’’ Feltt said. “There is just something about the guy that makes it natural.’’
Brennan, who was a standout pitcher at Schlarman, is in his second season as the pitching coach for the Speakers.
“I think he picks on me because I’m his pitching coach and he is supposed to halfway listen to me,’’ said Brennan.
And if you sit close enough to the dugout during a game, you can hear that Feltt does listen to Brennan as he tends to repeat what the coach says during the game.
“We go back and forth,’’ said Brennan, who can dish it out as well as any coach. “We have a lot of fun.
“Honestly, he is a great kid. Last year, he was a little shy and quiet. But, this year, he has the most energy of anyone on the team, he also works as hard as anyone. He gives it his all, all of the time.’’
Brennan said that attitude rubs off on all of the players — both starters and reserves.
“It shows that you don’t always have to be on the field to help your teammates,’’ he said. “Jackson would rather see the team win than get into the game.
“It shows everyone that it’s not about your playing time, it’s more about the team being successful.’’
Feltt came to Danville last summer when Paris Post 211 was forced into not fielding a senior legion team. Instead of taking the whole summer off before his freshman season at Danville Area Community College, Feltt joined the Speakers.
“I really didn’t know anyone and I was just coming here to play ball,’’ he said. “This year, I’m way more comfortable with these guys. I was around them all last summer and I played with a few of them this spring at DACC.’’
That connection between Danville and Paris grew this season.
Infielder Austin Littleton, outfielder Brady Sutton and pitcher Chris Johnson are all part of the Post 210 team and they stay at Feltt’s apartment in Danville during the summer.
“The kids in Paris needed a place to play and Shep gave us this opportunity,’’ Feltt said. “Because of it, I got a chance to be a state champion last year and now, all four of us have an opportunity to win a title this summer.’’