Cavalier Corner

June 2016

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BY GREG WATERS M O S T H I G H S C H O O L seniors are focused on either where to go to college or what their career path will be. But after being drafted by San Diego Padres in the 21st round of the 2013 Major League Baseball Draft, the choice was far more complicated for Chesapeake (Va.) Great Bridge's Connor Jones. Jones was projected as a potential third- round pick on draft day, but his firm position to play college baseball and attend the Uni- versity of Virginia knocked down his stock and he dropped to the later rounds. Regard- less, he had an opportunity to get paid to play ball. "Right out of high school, he turns down a lot of money to come to the University of Virginia for the collegiate experience and de- velopment," UVA pitching coach Karl Kuhn said. That was the first of several critical choices the highly touted Jones has made over the last four years. The tough, gritty right-hander, who is likely approaching the end of his colle- giate baseball career, has proven he can make those tough decisions. The first big one for Jones was to accept a new role at Virginia his first-year season. He also complied when asked to make some changes in how he pitches. A starter his entire high school career, Jones was asked to accept a spot in the Cava- liers' bullpen behind veteran starters Nathan Kirby, Josh Sborz, Brandon Waddell and Artie Lewicki. That is not an easy task for a kid that was ranked as the top high school player in Virginia and the No. 26 overall pros- pect nationally by Perfect Game. Jones concluded his four-year varsity ca- reer with 22-3 record, two saves, a 1.68 ERA and an opponents' batting average of .179. He went 10-1 with a 0.00 ERA in the regular sea- son as a prep senior, registering 10 shutouts. Jones featured a fastball that eclipsed 90 miles per hour and a heavy sinker, and used both to dominate high school competition. Moving up to big-time college baseball, Kuhn said he needed to make some changes and not just rely on the heat. "You've got a kid that virtually gives up no WISE CHOICE Connor Jones' Decision To Go To College Has Paid Off For Him

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