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March 1, 2008University of Washington quarterback and Ferndale High School star Jake Locker has agreed to play baseball with the West Coast Collegiate Baseball League's Bellingham Bells during the 2008 season. The Bells are a member of the West Coast Collegiate Baseball League, a wood bat summer baseball league that plays its home games at Joe Martin Field in Bellingham. "We are extremely excited to have Jake on the team," general manager Dave Lewis stated.
"Not only is he is a great athlete who will bring his skills to our talented roster, but he is another great local addition to the team. Head Coach Brandon Newell has done a great job of bringing in local players." Locker joins his cousin and several other Whatcom and Skagit County natives on the Bells 2008 roster, which will be released in the coming weeks.
Newell added, "Jake fits well with our philosophy of winning with local players. We have taken advantage of the hotbed this area has become for baseball talent by bringing in players from the area." As a baseball player at Ferndale High School, Locker was named the Washington State 3A Most Valuable Player following his senior year, and was named to the All-State Team as a pitcher and outfielder.
Locker was awarded the Pac-10 Conference Freshman of the year following his outstanding 2007 football season. He established the modern record for rushing yards by a quarterback by amassing 986 yards in his redshirt freshman year. "I am excited to play baseball this summer," Locker said. "There are a lot of exciting things happening with the Bells and I am going to have fun being a part of it all."
Washington football coach Tyrone Willingham added that he is not concerned about Jake's decision to play baseball this summer.
"Jake is such a great competitor and I completely support his decision to play baseball this summer," said Willingham, who was a second-team all-Big Ten Conference selection as a centerfielder on the Michigan State baseball team.
"He has always had, and will continue to have, a positive commitment to our program and to his teammates. That will not change. I don't believe that playing baseball this summer will have a negative impact on his development as a football player.
"One of the great things about our program is that we are continually adding great competitors. Having players, such as Jake, who have a high degree of competitiveness is such a critical component in our development of a championship program. "I am excited about Jake's involvement in baseball this summer and I know it will be a great complement to his development as a football player and as a person."