Jones learns to like pitching

Mike Tupa
Mike Tupa/Examiner-Enterprise

Randsom Jones seems to have a nose for the big play.

Friday night, he crushed a walk-off single to complete an amazing comeback for the Bartlesville United Linen Braves — and he also earned the pitching win, after striking out a batter to leave a runner standing at third – in the 11-10 win at Bill Doenges Memorial Stadium.

To put it simply, the Pawhuska High School junior-to-be is a gamer on the baseball diamond.

And, it wasn’t even his first sport.

Jones had already given golf a try by the time he began at age 3 to play baseball.

The Pawhuska native hasn’t had a diamond-less spring or summer since.

Among Jones happiest moments on the field are when he climbs to hill to face opposing batting lineups.

It wasn’t always so.

In his first year of kid pitch, “I hated pitching,” he said.

But, his mother purchased him a piece of equipment to help him improve his throwing mechanics.

Jones chucked the ball 70 to 80 times a day at the apparatus and his confidence and love of the position grew.

Jones also finds enjoyment in playing for the Braves, an American Legion 17-and-U team that blends together players from several different high schools.

“It’s a great program,” he said. “It brings a lot of communities together and you get to know other guys.”

In school ball, Jones find happiness in familiarity.

“There were nine or 10 of us on my kid pitch team and we’ve played nine or 10 years together,” he said. “I’ve played with them forever.”

One of his favorite teammates shares the same dinner table.

“I’ve played with him (younger brother Ryan) forever,” he said, adding he’s appreciates the how his brother and his other long-time teammates such as Corbin McCarty, Hunter Reed, Nick Edwards and others have gotten better during the years.

But, the time is coming when Jones will have to leave his boyhood teammates behind.

“I want to play in college,” he said. “My dream college would be Oklahoma, but it’s one of the hardest schools to get into.”

Jones said he wants to work hard to bolster his grades and help us chances of playing high-level college baseball.

Although the future is closer than the past, Jones treasures a few baseball memories from his youth.

He recalled playing several years ago in a USSSA tournament at a Broken Arrow field that borders a forested area.

He blasted two homers in the same game into the trees — and never found the balls.

“We were out in the woods forever looking for them,” he said. “We found 15 other balls, but we didn’t find those ones.”

His other favorite moment also took place in Broken Arrow, when he picked up a one-hopper to center field and threw out a runner coming to first.

“I barely got him,” he noted.