*3B Jonathan Jones/Michel Groleau photo.
Remember that old line about keeping up with the Joneses?
None of the 101 players could keep up with Jonathan Jones of the Academie Baseball Canada when three teams played in a Pro Scouts Showcase at the Rogers Centre.
The strapping 6-foot-5, 205-pound, ABC third baseman, went 5-for-8, with two doubles and a triple as Alex Agostino's well-run, ABC program came into town and ran the table, winning three games against two Ontario teams.
For many members of the ABC, the Premier League All-Stars and the Ontario All-Stars it was their first time on the Rogers Centre carpet.
For Jones (Lorraine, Que.), he’s been under the big top before: at the annual Mizuno camp and a year ago on an ABC visit.
“It’s still real nice to come here,” Jones said. “Besides getting to play here we saw a real good ball game. The Minnesota Twins beat the Blue Jays, but the game went right down to the very last pitch with Adam Lind up and the bases loaded.
“Last time here it was a 1-0 game against the Boston Red Sox and I think the run scored on a bases-loaded walk.”
In the opener, a 2-1 win over the Premier Baseball League of Ontario, Jones was 1-for-3 with a walk and in the nitecap, a 7-4 win, he was 3-for-4 with a single, double and a triple.
Jones had a hit in the ABC’s win over the Ontario All-Stars.
The right-handed hitter, also a member of the Canadian Junior National Team, hit his two doubles to left and his triple to centre.
To date “nine or 10 teams” have shown interest in Jones heading into the June draft.
“I want to play pro ball,” Jones said. “It’s my goal hopefully.”
The third baseman has a spare tire in the trunk -- just in case his name is not called by any of the 30 teams -- signing a letter of intent to play for the defending champion NJCAA Iowa Western Reivers, which Ivan Hartle (North Vancouver, BC) led to the title in Grand Junction, Col.
“Baseball is my greatest passion since I was young,” Jones said. “My dream was always to go play in the United States.
“I’ve been lucky enough to have some good coaches like Joel Landry and Ray Callari with the ABC and Greg Hamilton with the Junior Team,” said Jones. Landry managed ABC, along with pitching coach Sylvain Saindon and third base coach Callari, who showed some Willie Montanez-like footwork around the base at first, after the final game, will be soon wearing a World Series ring after his San Francisco Giants beat the Texas Rangers last October.
Playing midget Triple-A, Jones was with the Associes de Laval and his most memorable game was a 5-3 decision over the Monaraques de Levis.
“My father (Daniel) motivated me when I was very young,” Jones said. “I chose baseball, but he always believed in me.”
Jones has impressed Landry.
“Jonathan is physically imposing athlete, but he does not rely solely on his size to make this way,” Landry told Jacques Lanciault, dean of Quebec amateur ball enthusiasts. “He has an impeccable work ethic. You can tell the aspect of his work and you can be sure he will devote 100% to his task ... regardless of what his teammates are working on.“
“Moreover, he is a very intelligent player who understands what is happening between the lines and he has a quality that is highly sought by coaches. He controls his emotions perfectly. In fact, for the moment I do not think there’s an impediment to him reaching the highest level of the pyramid.“
Jones chose Iowa Western as it was in a class by itself, saying “they have an excellent program and participated in the Junior College World Series four times in the past five years.”
The PBLO narrowly edged the Ontario All-Stars with two runs in the bottom of the seventh in the other game.
ABC 000 110 0 -- 2 7 1
PBLO 000 100 0 -- 1 6 1
Roberta Zapata, Hamza Naim (4), Vincent Ouellette (7) and Jean-Philippe Rousseau; Skylar Janisse, Andrew Marra (2), Tim Black (4), Dane Gordon (6), Michael Foster (7) and Justin Marra, Jacob Hillier (5).
ABC hits: Kevin Bergeron double, single; Samuel Groleau-Vandry and Rousseau each with a double, Jonathan Jones, Cedrick Vallieres and Simon Landry each with a single
Ontario hits: Steve Adam double, single; Brian Doran double; Justin Marra, Mitch Holgate and David Head, each with a single.
PBLO 020 021 0 -- 5 4 1
ABC 021 031 0 -- 7 8 1
Jordan Romano, Justin Atkinson (2), Adam McBride (4), Jeremy Newton (5), Aaron Bain (6) and Michael Booth, Hillier (5); Yann Charbonneau, Guillaume Blanchet (4), Jacob Gosselin-Deschenes (6) and Rousseau.
Ontario hits: Joey Hawkins, Gabriel Mark, Matt Paculan, Byron Reichstein each with a single.
ABC hits: Jones triple, double, single; Derek Legault two singles, Kevin Trepanier, Vallieres and Rousseau each with a single.
ABC 7, Ontario 4
Ontario hits: Blake two hits, Mark Tari triple, Harrison Greenough single.
Ontario 100 004 0 -- 5 6 0
PBLO 121 000 2 -- 6 4 0
Roberta Suppa, Ryan Kellog (3), Anthony Buonaiuto (4), Cory Duggan (5), Caleb King (6), Riley Cloverdale (7) and Ryan Belz; C.J. Machete, Eric Wood (3), J.D. Marks (5), Dolan Dunnigan (6), Andrew Simonetti (6) and J. Marra, Holgate (5).
Ontario hits: Tari two singles, Steven Ciampa, Ian Eagleson, Jordan Blake, Russell McGibbon each with a single.
PBLO hits: Jordan Mountford, Spencer Marantette each with a double, Brandon Collins and Adam each with a single.