An error and an Instagram video has led Jackson Soucie to the west coast where he’ll continue his baseball career at the University of Oregon.
Soucie's path from Cambridge, Ont. to Eugene, Ore. took a pit stop in Mount Carmel, Ill. when he committed to junior college powerhouse Wabash Valley College out of high school.
“I wasn’t sure if I was a NCAA eligible player out of high school, which it turned out I wasn’t based on the clearinghouse,” Soucie said of what’s now known as the NCAA Eligibility Centre, an organization that helps determine who meets the requirements to be a student-athlete.
“But then they said that there was an error, so I knew I would be one and done in junior college.”
The talks with the Oregon coaching staff began last fall when they saw a video Soucie had posted on his Instagram page. When the issue with the NCAA was cleared up, talks became more serious.
More conversations followed, including Facetime tours around the Ducks' facilities.
It wasn’t long after that the St. Benedict Catholic Secondary School graduate knew he wanted to commit.
“I felt it was the best fit for me,” he said.
“I had a connection with the coaches right away. I felt welcomed and that they wanted me.”
On the field, the Ducks are a program on the rise and are currently one win away from securing their spot in the College World Series after winning the Pac-12 Conference championship, their regional and Game 1 of their Super Regional.
But they haven’t won the national title since 1954.
“This year they're showing who they are and I wanted to be a part of that,” Soucie said.
Soucie believes his one year stop at Wabash Valley will prove to be a critical moment in his development.
The Warriors were a top team in the country all season and lost in the national championship game, a game in which Soucie threw 4.2 innings in.
As heartbreaking as the ending was, he’s happy for his time there.
“I’m grateful for the experience I had in junior college,” he said.
“It humbles you as a person because there’s no easy way out. There’s a lot of extra work, you have to do your own field work and that helped me grow as a person.”
The 6’4, 225 pound Soucie knows he draws attention when he walks in a room, or on the mound, and he’s okay with that as he prides himself on his competitiveness.
“I’m a big kid, you can tell I’m a strong physical player,” he said.
“Mentality wise I have a strong mentality whether I give up a home run or three runs it doesn't bother me, I keep cool and collected. I know I can beat anybody.”
Before arriving on the Oregon campus in the fall, Soucie has one more stop to make. He’ll pitch for the Hyannis Harbor Hawks of the prestigious Cape Cod League, the top summer league for college baseball players.
After he’s done there, he’ll be catching his flight west.
‘I’m excited to go to the west coast,” he said.
“I've heard it's an insane place to be. I’m looking forward to getting to know the place as it’s an athlete's school. I’m excited to be a part of that."