By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Back during the early national signing period, Brighton senior Bentley Jones made his college choice like he attacks the base path.
With quickness and full awareness, Jones signed to play baseball in November to the UT Martin Skyhawks. Jones will bring his speed and catching talents to Head Coach Rick Robinson’s squad in the Ohio Valley Conference.
“Great coaching staff, early playing time and they have an uprising program,” Jones said are some of the reasons he picked UT Martin.
The All-District catcher said the Skyhawks liked his proven skills and potential offering him a Division I scholarship.
“My hustle on the field, catching and just playing my hardest all the time,” Jones noted. “I’m just an everyday. Everybody knows I’m going to do a good job back there and give everything I got.”
For the past couple of years Jones has given that hustle to Brighton and former Head Coach Brian Oswalt. Entering the 2015 season with the Cardinals, Jones will be a senior leader under new Head Coach Michael Wickersham.
Wickersham has been coaching in West Tennessee since 1998 starting at USH. After a stop at Bolton, Wichersham joined Crockett County. Now the veteran coach makes the transition from Class 2A to Class 3A with the Cardinals.
Jones will be one of the key components of helping Wickersham adjust on and off the field. Off the field, Jones has proven he can manage a pitching staff helping players like Colton Hathcock and Nate Newman reach the college level as pitchers.
On the field, Jones is a productive bat near the top of the lineup and brings blazing speed on the bases.
Jones, a 5’11 catcher bats right and throws with his right hand. The 170-pound speedster helped Brighton reached Regionals last season and caught a no-hitter from pitcher Tanner McDivitt in a victory over Millington on March 24. Jones is known to displayed a 1.98 pop time – which ranked in the top-five out of all catchers in the state of Tennessee. And he was invited to the 2014 Tennessee Baseball Coaches Association Showcase Classic.
“I’ve played shortstop before I started catching,” he said. “I’ve played basketball and football too.”
The all-around athlete did acknowledge his senior season will be a chance to improve on some parts of his baseball game before heading up to Martin.
“I need to hit for a little bit better average and hit for more power,” he said. “Just work on running the bases a little bit better.”
Jones said he’s glad to prove he’s a Division I caliber baseball player. But his consistent growth in the game can benefit the Cardinals before he leaves the school in May.
“It’s going to be good things happening,” he concluded. “Coach Wick is great. We’re going to be better. We’ll have a bright season. I think we can make the next step.”
Jones was joined at his signing by his mother Jessica, father Ben and sister Macauley.