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From his early years of baseball in Bronson to his upcoming adventures in college, one thing won't change for Bronson's Jimmy Jones III: He'll remain an Eagle.
The Bronson native, though attending St. Francis High School in Gainesville where he played for the Wolves the last few years, signed a letter of intent to play baseball for the Eagles at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Thursday.
"He stood out far above any players in our camp," Embry-Riddle Head Baseball Coach Randy Stegall said to the crowd in attendance.
Stegall said Jones' work ethic is what sold him on the player. "I think he's gonna' fit in well," he said, adding, "I love that Jones is getting all this support."
More than 75 people, including family, friends and people such as Levy County Schools Superintendent Robert Hastings and Levy County Judge James T. Browning and retired Judge Joseph E. Smith, showed up to support Jones.
"I'd like to thank God for giving me the ability to play the best game in the world," Jones said, thanking all of his coaches, teammates, family and friends for helping to get him to this point. He said his dream has always been to play baseball, and he's happy to see that dream continue.
Jones credited his mom, Levy County Supervisor of Elections Tammy Jones, with instilling in him the spirit of competition. And he thanked his father, county construction department head and Navy Seabee Jimmy Jones II, for teaching him the value of hard work.
"I can truly say my dad is my hero ... to this great nation and to me."
He praised his sister, Cassidy, for teaching him the ins and outs of the game.
"Let me tell you something: She whooped my butt up and down the field."