The 2022 Frontier League season hasn’t always been kind to Ottawa Titans’ outfielder, Jacob Talamante. He has battled through injuries earlier in the season, he’s struggled at the plate at times, and he’s spent the year as the team’s fourth outfielder, limiting his playing time.
Through all of those struggles, Talamante has only started to work harder. He has spent countless hours getting in some work in the cage, he’s spent time with coaches, and he has worked on his mindset to ensure that when he does step up to the plate, he gets the most that he can out of it. In the past week, things have opened up, and Talamante has found some success, picking up seven hits in his last seven games, and cashing in three of his seven RBIs this season.
In the Titans’ first game of their homestand on Tuesday night, Talamante continued his success, getting two hits, one coming on a nearly perfect bunt down the third-base line, and the other coming on a single up the middle after a hard-fought at-bat. The 24-year-old drove in a run on the way to Ottawa’s 4-1 win
“It feels really good,” Talamante said. “It’s really satisfying that the early work and working with the coaches to make sure the swing is good is finally paying off. It’s really satisfying.”
Despite not playing every day, Talamante has been a team player, knowing that when he does get a chance, he needs to come through for his team. The time he has spent trying to get better has helped him improve, but the primary objective has been to help the team get wins.
“It’s a lot of work, and I just figured out that in order for me to be a player that can help the team, I have to work hard,” Talamante said. “It’s a lot of working in the cage and it’s constant for me. Coming off the bench, it’s important to stay ready, and if I feel like I’m not getting enough work in or I’m not ready, that’s going to affect the team. It’s just about staying ready and continuing to work at it.”
The work being done by Talamante has caught the attention of his manager Bobby Brown, who praises the effort. Brown is also a large part of the reason that Talamante is in Ottawa this season to begin with, and he doesn’t regret that decision at all.
“Jacob Talamante is one of my favourite players,” said Brown. “We got him last year when I was coaching Missoula and he came in down the stretch for us and filled that role of a fourth outfielder that can defend, run, and put the ball in play. When I got hired here, he was a guy that I just felt you could win a championship with.”
“He’s just a worker, and he’s getting the opportunity to play every day now because we have some injuries. He’s got some big shoes to fill, and he’s playing his style of game and fitting in great.”
Even with all the work being put into getting better, there was one thing Talamante couldn’t get, and that was consistent at-bats. With both Brendon Dadson and Will Zimmerman out of the lineup, those consistent at-bats have come, and it has allowed him to put those practice reps to use in game situations.
“It’s about getting into a rhythm,” Talamante said. “The more you get into the game and the more pitches you see, the more comfortable you start to feel. I think that plays a part in it. It’s a comfort level thing. Obviously, you miss those guys in the lineup, they are our everyday starters, but the season goes on, the schedule goes on, and I have to step up and help the team win.”
As for if the streak of success at the plate over the past week will be the start of something bigger for Talamante, only time can tell. But what he does know is that it won’t change his mindset, and he needs to keep doing what he has been doing the whole season.
“Yea, you hope so, right?” Talamante said with a hopeful chuckle. “You gotta come to the yard every single day and just let yesterday be yesterday. I’ve tried really hard to just keep a positive perspective and just stay present and not let yesterday’s success or failure [change things]. Just leave that behind.”
“[Tuesday] was a nice game, I felt good, I felt like I saw it well, and I felt like I had good swings. But none of that matters tomorrow. It starts all over again. Whether today was good or bad, the outlook has got to be that tomorrow is going to be the start of something.”
But for his manager, hot bat or otherwise, he’s an important piece to the Titans’ puzzle, and you never know when he will be needed to play a bigger role in a long season.
“Even when he’s not playing every day, he’s always ready to go in and play defence, always ready to pinch-run, and always ready to pinch-hit,” Brown said. “Whatever you need. He always keeps it loose and keeps his body moving. He’s always ready to go. I’m glad he’s starting to have some success.”
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