Unzen-Adams Grandson Semi-Finalist for Golden Spikes Award
USA Baseball revealed the 2017 Golden Spikes Award semi-finalists and Jake Adams made the list! Jake is an All-American infielder on the University of Iowa Hawkeyes team. He is also the son of Milbank natives, Bob and Laurie (Unzen) Adams and the grandson of Suzanne Unzen, the late Matt Unzen, and the late Dean and Donna Adams.
The Golden Spikes Award is bestowed annually to the top amateur baseball player in the United States. The award, sponsored by the MLB Players Association, is given to the amateur player who best exhibits and combines “exceptional ability and exemplary sportsmanship.” It is considered the most prestigious award in amateur baseball.
Finalists for the Golden Spurs Award will be announced Wednesday, June 14. The live presentation of the winner of the 2017 Golden Spikes Award will be announced on ESPN’s SportsCenter, on Thursday, June 29.
Ten winners of the Golden Spikes Award are members of the National College Baseball Hall of Fame and seven Golden Spikes Award winners went on to become the first overall MLB draft pick. Buster Posey won the award in 2008, Bryce Harper in 2010, and Kris Bryant in 2013.
Adams was nominated to the list of 25 semi-finalists after he was chosen as an All-America and was unanimously named the Big 10 Player of the Year – the only unanimous first-team All-Big 10 selection in 2017. Adams led the NCAA with 29 home runs and set the single season home run record for Iowa and the Big 10.
Before becoming a Hawkeye, Adams played two years at Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) on the Boone, Iowa, campus. As a sophomore, he earned first-team All-American honors hitting 3.60 with 25 home runs, 74 RBIs, and 59 runs. In 2016, he ranked second in the nation in home runs, fourth in slugging percentage (.860), seventh in total bases (172), tenth in RBIs and fifteenth in doubles (19). He was a two-time All-Conference selection, earning first-team honors as a sophomore and second-team honors as a freshman. He also was a NJCAA Region XI Division II Second-Team All-Region player as a freshman. He holds the DMACC single-season and career home run records with 25 and 42, respectively.
Adams, a native of Brandon, South Dakota, was a member of the football, basketball, and baseball teams at Brandon Valley High School. He was a linebacker on the football team which finished second in the state. He earned all-conference honors in basketball as a center, and helped Brandon Valley to win a second place trophy in the state tournament. He was also was named to the all-tournament team. On the baseball field, he hit a 3.98 batting average with five home runs his junior year.
Laurie, Jake’s mother said, “He was an active kid, so I signed him up for every sport possible when he was little,” said Laurie. “He was in t-ball, wrestling, basketball, football and soccer. He actually excelled in all of them.”
“As parents, we knew he had an athletic gift,” Laurie said beaming. “He always had a drive to do well in whatever he did.”
“My goal was to play baseball at the highest level possible,” Jake commented. “I met my first goal of playing at the Division 1 level. I hope to keep going as far as I can.” Jake attributes much of his success to all his coaches along the way. “My high school coach, Grant Heib, and all my other baseball coaches along the way have had a big influence on me,” he said. “They all saw potential and pushed me to always do my best.”