The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

April 23, 2014

Jones has eyes set on prize

By Zach James Herald Assistant Sports Editor
The Clinton Herald

---- — FULTON, Ill. — Ethan Jones has all the confidence that he can become the Three Rivers Conference Player of the Year in baseball.

“I just need to work hard, show up everyday and just play the best that I can every game so I can help my team win,” Jones said. “I want Player of the Year, but I also want to win.”

He’s also looking to help make his Fulton Steamers the best in the conference, but they have a steep hill to climb at a 4-10 overall so far this season.

On the season, Jones is hitting .265 with a couple RBIs and a handful of quality at-bats to contribute for Fulton. Fulton coach Kyle Miller looks past the stats when he talks about Jones.

Instead, he talks about the things fans don’t see in the box score.

“He is a very coachable kid, and Ethan is Ethan, I say that every day,” Miller said. “What he does for us is phenomenal. He’s probably played a million games in his lifetime, but he still comes daily to the park willing to learn and do what’s needed.”

Jones has had success on the mound this season, especially in the April 7 win against Riverdale.

Jones, a senior, threw a complete game, allowing two earned runs on four hits. After allowing a leadoff double in that game, Jones mowed down 13 Riverdale hitters, including striking out the side in the seventh inning on 16 pitches. There was a stretch in that game where he retired seven consecutive batters.

“What he does on the mound is great,” Miller said. “He has great stuff. He’s a special player.”

Jones has had to take a couple of losses this season as the pitcher, including an April 17 loss against Newman Catholic. In the loss, Jones was not charged with allowing an earned run in his 5 2/3-inning performance.

“That was a tough-luck loss right there,” Miller said. “Right now, his numbers aren’t there, but I will certainly take my chances with Ethan Jones and the rest of my guys.”

“We’re a team, and it’s going to have to take all of us to get to where we want to go,” Jones said.

After each game, win or lose, Jones is one of the very few Steamers who will run foul pole to foul pole not for punishment, just to get better.

“He’ll do anything we ask him to,” Miller said. “That’s what a leader does.”