Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jones' Baseball Journey Continues with Mississippi; Two Home Runs in Series against Suns Highlight Center Fielder's Homecoming

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jones' Baseball Journey Continues with Mississippi; Two Home Runs in Series against Suns Highlight Center Fielder's Homecoming

Article excerpt

Byline: Jeff Elliott

For someone cut from his high school baseball team, Mycal Jones has made great strides.

Jones, who attended Paxon for two years and Wolfson for two, returned to his hometown last week with the Mississippi Braves, who dropped four of five games to the Jacksonville Suns.

Jones, the Braves' starting center fielder, made his first appearance at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville since early in his senior season, when Wolfson played Parker in 2005.

Jones had a successful return home, hitting two home runs in the series and losing out on a third when the Suns's Jake Smolinski reached over the left-field wall to catch a deep drive.

"It was definitely a good feeling to hit that first home run after I got robbed the night before when their outfielder took one away from me," Jones said. "I was definitely trying to get one here in Jacksonville in front of my family and friends.

"I remember coming to the ballpark [Wolfson Park] as a kid watching the Suns play. I never thought that I'd be playing here as a professional player one day."

Jones' journey started at Paxon, when he was cut during tryouts in his sophomore season. The next year, he transferred to Wolfson where he was a reserve outfielder before earning a starting spot his senior season.

He caught the eye of former North Florida coach Dusty Rhodes, who offered Jones a partial scholarship to UNF. Jones played one season, redshirting one year and being academically ineligible another, before transferring to Miami Dade Community College. He was a fourth-round draft pick by the Atlanta Braves after one season in Miami.

"I wanted more exposure and thought I could get that at Miami," said Jones, son of Jacksonville City Council member Warren Jones. "I did enjoy my time at UNF. I worked hard there, and coach Rhodes stayed on me all the time because he said he saw potential in me. …

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