EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

June 14, 2013

The 'Peanut' gang

Texas boy becomes NECC baseball's biggest supporter

HAVERHILL — It has the appearance of the oddest of couples.

A boy from Gilmer, Texas, and a community college baseball team 1,600 miles away in Haverhill, Mass.

Kativa Robinson can’t explain it, the connection between her 14-year-old son Jacob, nicknamed “Peanut,” and about 20 young men from Northern Essex Community College.

“All you have to know is he wanted to come to Boston for his birthday,” said Kativa, of her son who had never been on a plane before this week. “He loves this team.”

Loves NECC baseball?

What about the Texas-based juggernauts, schools like University of Texas, Texas A&M or SMU, a few hours away from their home.

“Nope,” said Jacob, wearing a blue cap with the “NE” letters on it. “Northern Essex is my favorite team ... And it’s not even close”

Jacob and NECC baseball were introduced 13 months ago when NECC qualified for the NJCCA Div. 3 World Series in Tyler, Texas.

Part of the duties for the competing eight teams is to participate in a baseball clinic for children the day before the games begin.

“My dad saw an advertisement for the clinic and thought it would be nice for Jacob to go. He’s always loved baseball more than anything.” said Jacob’s mom. “The only problem was we live 40 minutes away from Tyler (Texas). My dad said he’d take him. He picked him up from school and they went.”

Jacob, whose dad is not in the picture, was a month shy of his 13th birthday at the time. He was in a group of boys working with Northern Essex Community College.

“I just remember him being so intense and wanting to learn,” recalled Costa Tingis, who played last year for NECC before moving on to UMass Boston this past year. “We were joking around with him and his accent. He liked our accent. We told him to come to our game the next day.”

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