WENDELL — Rare – that’s the best way to put it.
Considering that only 5.6 percent – or 1 in every 20 – of high school seniors go on to play in college at a NCAA member institution, the chances are quite rare.
So when East Wake grad Logan Jones had the chance to pick which school he wanted to attend out of six different colleges, he knew it was a special opportunity.
“I never once took for granted playing baseball,” Jones said. “I look at a lot of my other teammates who I just graduated with … and I see how huge of a deal this is. I just realized how lucky I am that I get to live out my childhood dream of playing in college.”
Jones said the first time that he realized this was after his freshman year. After watching that first class of seniors leave, he knew that some careers can be short-lived and getting to the next level is never guaranteed.
That was when, according to his father Jeff Jones, he made a commitment to not only baseball, but his grades and his work ethic.
This fall, Logan will be heading to Guilford College in Greensboro to play baseball. As a Division III institution, Guilford can’t offer students athletic scholarships but rather academic scholarships – something Jeff knows his son earned with his 4.4 GPA at East Wake.
“He’s worked for this for years and made a decision early on, probably in little league, that he wanted to play baseball for as long as he could,” Jeff said. “For him to see his hard work pay off is gratifying for both Tricia (Jones’ mother) and me.
“We’re proud of his baseball skills, but the academic side of it is a priority to us. To say we’re proud would be an understatement.”
One of the greatest influences for Logan throughout high school was Kerry Kincaid. The former East Wake baseball coach left the program before Logan’s junior season, but never broke ties with his former player.
Whether it was attending USA Baseball events or going to Carolina Mudcats games while Kincaid throws BP or coaches first base, Logan got the chance to see high level baseball.
“The first camp that Logan ever attended was one of Kerry’s when he was five or six,” Jeff said. “Kerry has kept a watchful eye on him and has really been a mentor. Our whole family is very grateful to him for that.”
Several factors went into his final decision, but Logan said one of the biggest reasons he decided on Guilford was the chance to earn significant time in his first year, and possibly become a starter.
“Two of the best infielders this past year graduated and they have another starter that was a junior,” he said. “It’s really tough to earn a spot on a college baseball team and even tougher to start. So this really gives me a chance to show my talent and get playing time in college.”
Smith: 919-829-4841; @RCorySmith