Unsung hero and soon to be star: Seth Hammock added another element to Valley’s pitching rotation

Published 12:28 pm Saturday, June 1, 2024

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The 2024 season was one for the books for Valley’s baseball program as the Rams advanced to the 5A semifinals for just the fourth time in school history. Several seniors like Jackson Sanders and C.J. Chambley headlined the run, but players like Seth Hammock helped make the Rams’ special run. 

Sanders and Chambley were the 1-2 punch at the top of Valley’s pitching rotation. Hammock came in as the third starting pitcher and helped make Valley’s rotation one of the most dominant in the state. 

Hammock pitched 44 innings for the Rams, allowing 1.27 walks and hits per inning pitched and a 3.50 earned run average while striking out 44 batters. 

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Hammock was dominant in his own right, but he also used his junior season to learn from the more experienced pitchers above him. Sanders and Chambley served as mentors for Hammock this season and helped him understand how to slow the game down. 

“It was just such a big role,” Hammock said. “Just following behind Jackson and C.J., looking up to them and what they taught me, it just felt pretty big. They always taught me and supported me through everything I did.” 

“They mostly helped me mentally just to be a dog on the mound,” Hammock added. “When I face adversity, trust in them, my teammates and God. Just keep pitching, whatever happens, happens. We can just make the next play.” 

Hammock did not have to be “the guy” as a junior, but the team did need him to contribute. Hammock came in with the mindset of just being someone the Rams could count on to get on base and not give up a ton of runs on the mound. 

Hammock’s senior season will come with totally different expectations. Hammock is expected to be the team’s ace going forward. Hammock knows that his game will have to elevate to another level, but he is not putting too much extra pressure on himself. 

“I just plan to trust God’s plan,” Hammock said. “I just plan to trust it, trust my coaches. We’re obviously going to put in the work on and off the field… I feel like if we put in the work we’ll get to where we want to get to.” 

Hammock developed into a consistent pitcher as a junior. A large part of Hammock’s success came from the development of secondary pitches. Hammock was able to rely on and add more movement to his offspeed as a junior. 

Hammock and pitching coach David Strickland have been inseparable during the pair’s time at Valley. Strickland had played a major role in Hammock’s development on and off the field. 

“He’s pretty much my best friend and my coach,” Hammock said. “He always pushed me to be the best I could, especially during conditioning. Just always made me go the extra mile to work the hardest.” 

Valley’s head coach Mike Meadows had full faith in Hammock’s abilities throughout the regular season and postseason. Meadows kept Hammock as the third starter in the rotation and trusted him in a close-out game in the second round against St. Paul’s Episcopal. 

Meadows was rewarded for his faith in Hammock as Hammock pitched a complete seven innings, allowing just two earned runs. Hammock earned that faith during scrimmages early in the season, and Hammock was even more confident with the backing of his coach. 

“That faith that he had in me just built my confidence even more,” Hammock said. “If I knew my coaches had faith and confidence in me, I knew I could do anything.” 

The Rams’ younger players from 2024 will be expected to step up and lead the way in 2025. The experience of having a deep playoff run should help those younger players. 

“I think just the crowd and experience helps us a lot,” Hammock said. “It just gives us the right mindset. It’s just another game in the playoffs.”
Hammock believes that the goal and standard for the baseball team next season remains the same as it was last season. 

“Just as a team, no different than last year, it’s a state championship,” Hammock said about Valley’s expectations. “I don’t expect anything less from this team. I know if we work hard on and off the field, we’ll get that goal.