By Bob Sutton
Special to The Alamance News
Tate Jones wanted the chance to play college baseball and he ended up with options.
The right-handed pitcher for Williams chose East Tennessee State. He committed in the summer and signed a letter-of-intent with the Buccaneers earlier this month.
“I’m thankful for them giving me the opportunity to play baseball at the next level,” Jones said.
As a junior, Jones compiled a 9-1 record in 11 starts with five complete games, including four shutouts. The right-hander, who had an earned run average of 0.22, struck out 102 batters in 65 innings for the Bulldogs (17-11).
“The amount of work he has put in is second to none,” said Jamie Athas, who was the Williams coach until stepping aside after last season. “It’s a testament to the amount of work he has put in.”
The connection with East Tennessee State grew for Jones through travel ball. He pointed to numerous people for roles in phases of his development, including instruction under former major league pitcher Scott Bankhead at North Carolina Baseball Academy in Greensboro.
Jones underwent surgery on his right knee in August. He said he should be ready for full training this winter in advance of his senior season with the Bulldogs.
Jones attends Alamance-Burlington Early College, then heads to Williams for workouts. He said he intends to major in computer science.