Wednesday, 10 August 2011 14:01

Indians' Jones named WMBL's top pitcher, wants to keep playing ball

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By Chris Jaster — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Chad Jones has flown under the radar in the pitching world for quite some time.

He’s hoping that time is over after being named the Western Major Baseball League’s best pitcher during the 2011 season.

“It was a little surprised, but it was a great season for me and I’m just happy to be a part of such a great team,” said Jones after the Indians’ wrap-up banquet and awards night Aug. 5.

This season with the Indians, Jones appeared in 21 of the Tribe’s 40 regular season games, throwing in 39 and one-third innings for the team. While on the mound, the relief pitcher sported a 5-2 record, allowed only six runs, five of which were earned, and 21 hits while striking out 63 batters. He led the league in strikeouts per inning pitched (1.6) and with his 1.14 ERA.

He made one appearance in the playoffs, a 4-3 win at home, where he recorded 10 straight outs and struck out five batters in three and one-third innings.

Even though he had some strong seasons with George Fox University, Jones admits his 2011 campaign with the Tribe is the best of his career.

“I shocked myself. Being out (of college) for a year, I didn’t know what to expect,” said Jones. “Things just clicked and I just threw a lot of strikes and kept guys off balance and good things happened.

“I’m just grateful I had a great summer.”

Despite not winning his second consecutive WMBL championship this season, Jones admits being named the Indians’ and league’s top pitcher as well as a WMBL first-team all-star is the next best way to leave both organizations.

He is not eligible to return to the league next season under the new eligibility rules as he has exhausted his college eligibility and he is not a Canadian player.

Since he can’t come back to Swift Current, the six-foot-one, 170-pound right-handed pitcher is trying to find a new place to play.

The 23-year-old is looking at joining an Arizona League where the players pay money to play and work with Major League Baseball coaches and scouts. He is also considering following former and current Swift Current Indian players to Europe or Australia to continue playing baseball.

Although he’s not sure where he will end up right now, he’s not ready to stop playing baseball and he is confident he will play somewhere else next season.

“The sky’s the limit,” he said. “I have a lot of options. I’m going to talk a lot of different coaches and (Indians head coach) Joe (Carnahan) is going to talk to some guys and I’m going to make a decision here soon. Hopefully, I’ll get some calls and some looks and play professionally, whether it be in the States or overseas.

“I’m young and I want to keep playing as much as I can. Baseball will be a part of my life forever, but I want to keep playing right now.”

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