Things didn’t go to plan for Avery Jones, a Gig Harbor High School 2017 graduate.
The 6-foot-6 right-handed pitcher committed to Washington State University early in his high school career. After he signed his National Letter of Intent as a senior, some of his scholarship money was pulled unexpectedly.
So he decided to back out and head to Central Arizona College and spend two years refining his game at the school south of Phoenix.
“It was really tough,” Jones said. “I had to put my ego aside. It was never my dream to play junior college baseball. But you have to do what you have to do. I wanted to play baseball, and it’s been a great place for me.”
Now, Jones’ patience has paid off. He recently announced his commitment to play baseball for San Diego State University.
“They were one of the first schools to reach out to me,” Jones said. “I wanted the chance to play right away and have an instant impact. It’s a great campus in one of the best places on Earth. It’s a winning program and has a rich history. It’s a good opportunity to take my game to the next level.”
The last couple years at Central Arizona and during the offseason, Jones has worked on building his strength and increasing his velocity. His arsenal of a four-seam fastball, two-seam fastball, changeup and curveball remains intact from his high school days.
“I’ve just worked on polishing all my pitches up,” Jones said.
Jones earned a starting role this season, and has posted a 2.92 earned run average in 11 appearances. In 49.1 innings pitched, he has struck out 39 strikeouts and walked 12 . His fastball sits between 88 and 92 miles per hour, and Jones said he has topped out at 94 mph.
“(San Diego State) liked that I was able to throw all three pitches for strikes,” Jones said. “That’s what I pride myself on. My walks are lower than they’ve ever been and my command is really good right now.”
Jones, who plans to continue studying business and SDSU, may not have taken his dream path to get to playing Division I baseball, but he’ll have the benefit of having some college experience already under his belt.
“It’s nice having these two years to just adjust to college life,” Jones said. “I’ll be pretty prepared for the workouts. I’m ready to compete down there.”
And maybe one day, the 2017 state title winner for the Tides will find himself in the big leagues.
“That’s always the dream,” Jones said.