Baysox's Jones slides into home

Orioles Minor League Notebook

April 14, 2008|By Bill Free | Bill Free,Sun reporter

From a handful of dirt Kennard Jones once grabbed for a souvenir from the outfield at Prince George's Stadium to his role as a fourth outfielder for his hometown Bowie Baysox, Jones has always had a fondness for the team's ballpark.

Although he was born in Cleveland, Jones is about as close to a Bowie native as one can get, having grown up in the area after his parents moved from Cleveland to Greenbelt to Bowie when he was very young.

"You can't even begin to understand what a thrill it is for me to come and play here at home," said Jones, who is playing his first season at Double-A Bowie. "I have played in Triple-A [Portland in 2006 in the San Diego Padres' system] and I will tell you nothing tops this, being able to play somewhere that is special to me."

It's easy for him to feel comfortable at Prince George's Stadium, where he played several high school games for High Point.

When asked what it felt like the first time he stepped on the home field for a Baysox game, Jones said simply, "Butterflies man - that's all I have to say."

Jones went 0-for-2 at home in the season opener, but he has come back to lead the 3-7 Baysox in hitting (.345).

Primarily a center fielder, Jones, 26, feels a responsibility to the many Baysox fans who will be coming out to see him.

"My phone has been ringing off the hook with people congratulating me for getting up here after playing in Frederick last season," he said. "I don't want to let them down."

Triple-A Norfolk -- Before anybody gets too excited over four Norfolk pitchers combining for a six-hit shutout Thursday in a 3-0 victory over Rochester, it would be nice to recognize the Tides' defense for turning four double plays in that game. In that game, Norfolk starter Jon Leicester allowed four hits and one walk and struck out four in four innings as 47 of his 58 pitches went for strikes. The win ended the Tides' opening homestand at 5-3, but they have lost their past three games, which all have been on the road.

Single-A Frederick -- Keys catcher Matt Wieters continued his torrid play Saturday night, hitting his third home run in eight games in a 6-2 victory over Myrtle Beach. The Orioles' top draft choice last season is batting .478 with seven RBIs, eight runs scored and a .618 on-base percentage. Frederick is 6-3 and in second place in the Carolina League Northern Division.

Single-A Delmarva -- The Shorebirds have hit only two homers in nine games. Second baseman Ryan Adams, who hit one of the homers, is struggling this season. He has struck out 13 times in 31 at-bats and is hitting .161. First baseman Anthony Martinez has the other Delmarva home run, and outfielder Joe Nowicki leads the team in hitting at .324. The Shorebirds are 4-5 in the South Atlantic League Northern Division.bfree7066@hotmail.com

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