Nicolet National Bank Senior Spotlight: Jake Berg – Bay Port baseball, football
By Rich Palzewic
SUAMICO – May 15, 2018, is a day Bay Port’s Jake Berg won’t soon forget.
The recent graduate, then in his sophomore year with the Pirates’ baseball team, took a 90-mph fastball off the face delivered by Green Bay Preble’s Ryan Stefiuk, a Vanderbilt University commit.
Berg said he has memories of that day, but no lasting effects.
“I still have a broken tooth (from the incident), but nothing else major,” said Jake, who is the son of Andy and Kim Berg. “With Ryan being a lefty and me being a left-handed batter, I couldn’t react quickly enough. Ryan and I are good friends, and we still joke about it.”
Berg will be playing baseball at Division I Jacksonville University in Florida and said he’s been told he will have a chance to compete for the starting catching job as a freshman.
“Two seniors from the team last year graduated, so all I can ask for is a chance to compete,” he said. “I leave about Aug. 11 to head there.”
Berg said he will study business analytics at Jacksonville, with the hopes of coaching or using his degree within the game of baseball, perhaps in the front office.
He said optimism was high for the Pirates this season before the year got canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We could have made some noise,” he said. “I feel we could have given Preble a run for their money and competed for a chance to go to state.”
Before he heads to Florida this summer, Berg is playing for the Green Bay Blue Ribbons, an adult team playing its games at Joannes Stadium.
Berg has a sister, Kalina, who is a junior at Bay Port, and his younger brother, Tommy, is 12 and plays baseball, football and basketball.
His parents are originally from Ashwaubenon and both went to the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Berg, who played on the varsity baseball team as a freshman, likes fishing, swimming, hanging out with friends, baseball player Christian Yelich, the phone app Snapchat, steak, vanilla ice cream and Kit Kat candy bars.
He also played defensive back on Bay Port’s state runner-up football team last fall.
“That was my most memorable high school sports moment, but I still think about the loss almost daily,” Berg said of the Pirates’ 21-10 loss to Muskego in the title game. “I felt we had a good chance, but we let it slip away. The (42-28) win over Kimberly (in the state semifinals) was awesome, too.”
Berg describes himself as hard-working, friendly and accountable.
He ended his high school career with a 3.9 grade-point average.
“The (June 13) graduation parade the community (in Howard/Suamico) held was pretty cool,” said Berg. “When school was closed in March, we were supposed to begin practice that week. It was a tough way to end my senior year with no sports, but a nice way to end with the parade.”