KF’s Bailey and Jones get Wise
Published 10:10 pm Thursday, April 16, 2015
Two of King’s Fork’s established baseball standouts, Cal Bailey and Bryce Jones, punched their tickets to the next level on Wednesday during a signing ceremony that included a large crowd of friends and family at King’s Fork High School.
“This is a day that these guys will never forget,” said Bulldogs coach Pat Stafford.
Bailey and Jones will play baseball for The University of Virginia’s College at Wise, which has an NCAA Division II program.
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“Only a few people in the whole country get to be able to play baseball at the next level,” Bailey said. “There’s hundreds of thousands of people who play high school ball and then only a couple thousand (are) able to pay college ball, so it’s just a blessing.”
“It means a lot,” Jones said of signing. “It took hard work, but it’s awesome.”
He considered Concord University and Potomac State College of West Virginia University, both of which offered him roster spots.
But when it came to U.Va.-Wise, he said, “I just liked it there better from the start,” and he praised the school’s coaches and campus.
“I got offered money from Wise,” Jones said, so that influenced his decision even more.
He said his partial scholarship is for baseball, but by further improving his grades and playing well, he can grow the amount of athletic and academic scholarship money he receives.
For Bailey, the college selection process was initially discouraging.
“I wasn’t really getting much looks going into my senior year,” he said.
Then, a few schools showed interest, like the University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University, but nothing came of it.
“But then I went to the camp at U.Va.-Wise,” Bailey said, and the people there showed a tremendous desire for him to come play for them, “so I just thought it was right.”
He received partial academic and partial athletic scholarships, with chances for more scholarship money based on his performance.
Stafford pointed to exciting possibilities for both of his players at U.Va.-Wise.
Starting with Bailey, he said, “I think Cal picked a good place. I think Cal’s going to really fit in at Wise well. I think he’s going to get a chance to play soon, just speaking with some of the coaches over there.”
Referring to U.Va.-Wise’s recruiting coordinator, Bailey said, “Coach (Erik) Lemley said I’m either going to be the starting catcher next year, or I’m going to play second base or third base.”
Stafford said, “Bryce is going to get the same opportunity Cal is, but Bryce is a little bit different.”
“Bryce really hasn’t had much varsity experience, and him getting this opportunity says a lot about what type of player he actually is,” the coach said.
He noted that in two or three years, Jones could be in a starting position for the Highland Cavaliers and possibly an all-conference-caliber player.
“They said I’m on the bubble of being either redshirted or having a chance the first year,” Jones said. “But personally, I kind of hope I’ll get redshirted, give me a year to get used to it and get training, get bigger, faster and stronger and all that.”
Stafford hopes Bailey and Jones will bring to the Highland Cavaliers some important qualities they have been taught as Bulldogs.
“They’re going to bring a lot of competitiveness because that’s what we really try to preach to our guys is be competitive, play competitive and be mentally tough,” Stafford said. “I think both of those guys are really mentally tough.”
Bailey said he will probably major in business, and Jones plans to major in criminal justice.