Rochelle senior Hayden Jones will be roughly 900 miles away from the Hub City when he walks onto the baseball diamond next year.
Jones will be continuing his athletic career at the TCS Post-Grad Baseball Academy in McKinney, Texas after he graduates from Rochelle Township High School this spring. The left-handed slugger said he plans to pitch at TCS, where he will play one full season before deciding upon his next destination. TCS is a one-year baseball academy for post-grad high school players who can receive increased exposure to college coaches and scouts.
“I feel that TCS gives me the best opportunity to improve my game and become a better person,” Jones said. “I’m looking forward to the competition at the next level because nothing will come easy and it’ll make me work to be the best that I can be… I feel confident throwing strikes and controlling the game from the mound, and I’m looking forward to getting my velocity up while I’m there because that’s what they strive for at TCS.”
Jones will be one of several seniors on the Rochelle varsity baseball team looking to defend its Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference Championship this season. Jones will play first base and record innings on the pitcher’s mound for the Hubs, who open their season against Machesney Park (Harlem) this weekend.
“I’m excited for Hayden,” Rochelle head baseball coach Jarrod Reynolds said. “He’s a high-character person and a pleasure to be around. He’s put a ton of work in, whether he’s lifting weights, throwing the ball or taking extra swings. Hayden is a really good player who keeps on getting better and better. TCS is getting a good player and person.”
While TCS athletes aren’t required to take any classes, Jones said he plans to enroll in online courses and use the library to get a head start on his academics. Jones said he plans to continue playing baseball after TCS, and he aims to study business management wherever he goes.
“Nothing has come easy since I started playing at RTHS,” Jones said. “I had to work hard and earn my position because of all the great players we’ve had.”