Star-Bulletin Sports

Wednesday, April 7, 1999

H A W A I I _P R E P _ S P O R T S

By George F. Lee, Star-Bulletin
Iolani senior Doug Jackson, taking his cuts in the batting
cage, is one reason why the Raiders are 6-1 and
tied for the lead in the ILH.

Having a devil
of a time

As Iolani's leadoff batter,
Jackson gives opposing pitchers
the fits at the plate and
on the basepath

By Pat Bigold


WHAT better spot in the batting order to put a Tazmanian Devil like Doug Jackson than leadoff?

He'll find a way to get on and then make the pitcher's life miserable as he does his hyperactive dance off first base.

Art "I just give him quick head fakes when he looks at me, and I guarantee he'll be nervous throwing to the batter," said Jackson.

"He'll look at me twice, look away, pause for like two seconds, and if the pattern continues, I read it and steal second."

If he goes for second, you'd better break out the crash helmet.

"DJ," as he is called by his Iolani teammates, doesn't expect to be offered any Division I scholarships, but he wants to play somewhere.

And it would be rather amazing if someone doesn't take the fiery 5-foot-5, 155-pounder up on that.

"DJ is a winner," said Mark Mugiishi, whose Raiders basketball team went to three state tournaments and won one in 1998 with Jackson in the backcourt. "When he's on your team, he significantly improves your chances of winning, just because of his intensity."

It's easy to spot Jackson with his forward-leaning gait and comical smirk. There's nothing timid about this high school senior whose posture and demeanor make him look tough enough to have been raised in the Bronx during the Great Depression.

But it's just as easy to see he's as happy as a cat on a tuna boat, and he'll tell you why in four words: "I love to compete."

He's started in the outfield for the last two Iolani state baseball champions and is currently batting .545 with 10 RBIs on a team that's 6-1 and tied for the Interscholastic League of Honolulu lead.

Jackson moved up to the Iolani varsity a year after Herb Yoshimura coached the Raiders to their first of three straight state titles. He had been a junior varsity second baseman, but Greg Omori had the varsity position and no one was going to budge Keone DeRenne out of shortstop. So new coach Dean Yonamine stuck Jackson in the outfield.

In 1997, he alternated between left and right. But for the last two years, he has been the general in center. And the vocal DJ enjoys that role.

"You have to help your other fielders because you're not just working your own spot," he said, "because you have good angles on both sides. I tell them if it's in or back. I like being in control out there."

As a sophomore, Jackson had an exceptional year at the plate batting ninth in a powerful order that included DeRenne, Omori and long-ball specialist Danny Kimura.

"It was great because all they threw me was fastballs and I hit 'em," said Jackson, who finished that season with a .420 average and 16 RBIs.

Last year, he moved to leadoff and batted .353 with four home runs and 15 RBIs.

But Jackson is stronger now, and Yonamine said he's gained more respect at the plate.

"DJ worked real hard in the off-season getting in the weight room, worked real hard on his bat speed, so he has added a lot of pop to his bat," Yonamine said.

Yonamine said that, whereas Jackson could be expected to lead with a walk or bunt last year, he now often raps extra base hits to get the Raiders rolling.

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