Throwing strikes and striking chords.
“There’s some songs that I love that are primarily played on the ukelele,” Bullfrogs pitcher Jake Stolley said. “I just picked one up a few months ago and just went from there.”
On a whim in January, Stolley thought it would be fun to try playing – of all things – the ukulele and he wouldn’t let a lack of musical experience didn’t deter him.
“Aside from the recorder – which I played in the 4th or 5th grade, I mean, I killed it on that – but aside from that I’ve never played another instrument,” the left-handed pitcher said.
His go-to song and the one he played as part of student-athlete talent show at Northwestern this spring is ‘Waterfalls’ by TLC. Stolley was quick to learn the right strumming pattern and chords, but he knows it’s the rapping-bridge in the middle that impresses most people.
“It was difficult at first but it’s actually one of the easier instruments to learn as far as I can tell,” Stolley continued. “You learn a few chords and you can pick up a song in like a week so it’s not too bad.”
The senior to be strumming all of seven months and while he’s been playing baseball for most of his life Stolley has found the skills are very relatable.
“To be any good at this you have to practice, it’s like anything of course in life. And to be good at baseball you just have to keep practicing,” he asserted. Stolley has serenaded his Bullfrogs teammates already this season with a song from the front of the team bus after a hard-earned victory. “It’s just being able to be comfortable with what you’ve practiced and what you know and performing in front of a big crowd. That directly correlates to baseball being comfortable in front of big crowd when you pitch on the mound.”
Thanks to the ukulele, Stolley has found himself more relaxed on the field. He’s one of the Bullfrogs most reliable relief pitcher and maintains a 1.01 earned run average.
“I really don’t have that fear anymore of going in front of a crowd and playing a song or pitching,” Stolley said. “So that definitely helps.”