JONES TAKES HIS GAME TO THE NEXT LEVEL
Gene Jones knew his son, Nate, had a world of athletic talent and could become a top-level pitcher at the scholastic level. And Gene also knew that he and his son had a hard time communicating when it came to pitching.
"Nate was a 13-year-old boy who knew everything," said Gene, who was a standout pitcher in his youth and hurled for the University of New Hampshire. "We would talk about pitching and we would end up arguing. I didn't want to ruin our relationship over pitching so I decided to take him to a pitching instructor."
Gene Jones didn't hesitate about who that instructor would be. He had become familiar with pitching guru David Adam of Strike Three Baseball through Little League Baseball.
"I knew Dave was very knowledgeable and was great with the kids," Gene Jones said.
When Nate first starting working with Adam, it was obvious that he had plenty of ability. It was also obvious that he needed help with mechanics.
"We first worked on his keeping his body square behind the ball. His head was flying off to the side and we needed to keep his head still so he could have the complete release point," Adam said. "Then we worked on the thought process, how to execute pitches."
That was four years ago. Since, Nate Jones has become one of the top pitchers in New Hampshire for Portsmouth High, winners of 43 straight games and two Class I state championships. Jones was a leader on last season's Portsmouth team, going 8-0 on the mound with an earned run average under 2.00 to earn All-State honors as a junior.
Jones is a sturdy 180 pounds and has rigorously followed Adam's strength regiment, which includes range of motion exercises to increase flexibility for the shoulder. Adam's workouts help young pitchers avoid injuries so they can prolong their baseball careers. Adam videotapes his pitchers and then goes over the tape with his students to show the difference between correct and incorrect mechanics.
"If you listen to what Dave has to say you are definitely going to learn how to pitch," Nate Jones said. "He has a great approach. He's not the kind of coach that will get in your face. He's the type of coach that is going to help you out if you're struggling."
Adam has also taught Jones to throw a cutter, which adds to his repertoire of pitches that includes a two-seam fastball, a circle change and breaking curve ball. And, oh yeah, Jones has caught the attention of college scouts as his fastball is consistently clocked in the 85-86 mph. range. He recently hit 89 mph. on a college scout's radar gun.
As a result Jones is drawing attention from college baseball programs such as Bryant, UMass, Franklin Pierce, UMass-Lowell, Southern Connecticut , Maris and William & Mary.
Jones has an outstanding baseball pedigree. Besides his dad, he has an uncle who pitched in the Los Angeles Dodgers system and another uncle who pitched at UConn. The college scouts have noticed that Jones has a confidence on the mound that give him an advantage over the batter.
"The scouts are talking about his mound presence," Gene Jones said.
And they're also noticing his command.
"The biggest factor in Nate's progression has been his command," Adam said. "He has the best command of a pitcher I've had in a long time. He throws strikes and he can spots his pitches on both sides of the plate."
Adam says Jones, who was also an All-State wide receiver for Portsmouth High as a junior, has plenty of upside because of his strength, proper mechanics, desire and blood lines.
It's an ability that was always there. All he needed was a push from his dad to seek extra help from pitching guru David Adam at Strike Three Baseball.
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