A young baseball star is on the rise.
Cooper Jones, 12, will play with 14 other boys on Team Canada in the Cal Ripken World series, in Aberdeen, Md. from Aug. 9 to 18.
“We were just playing a game, a regular season game. One of their scouts recommended me to go to tryouts,” Jones explained.
“At first I was nervous but when I started camp I was really excited,” he added.
The tryouts and training camps took place near the end of July. The camps were mainly drills and Jones says at first he was anxious of what the coaches would think of him.
However, it was the fun attitudes of those same coaches and the kindness of the other players that helped Jones overcome his qualms.
Unbeknownst to Jones, his mother, Barb Jones, received an email after the first night. “‘Don’t tell anybody but your kid is looking good.’ They identified that Cooper would be an asset,” said Mrs. Jones.
Jones, and the other children, weren’t allowed to know the coaches interest in him because they wanted the players to all try their hardest during the tryouts.
That wasn’t the last time the coaches used the upcoming Word Series as more than just a tournament. Fair play, a fair chance and the idea that representing Canada is both an honour and a responsibility is routinely brought mentioned to the boys.
Jones found out about three weeks ago, in a phone call from one of the coaches, he’d made the team. “I was excited, ecstatic.”
“I think I was a little bit disbelieving . . . But not surprised Cooper made the team. It was an honour and exciting, but I wasn’t totally surprised,” said his mother.
“He told me making this team, he was on track for making his long term-goals.”
Jones is a mature player, able to keep cool under pressure, and Mrs. Jones says those skills helped him through tryouts.
By July 31 Jones and his new teammates had practiced together twice. Two of the boys are from Saskatchewan and the rest from across Alberta.
Team Canada also includes a teammate from Jones’ regular season team, the peewee AAA Dairy Queen Braves, Hunter Leslie.
Jones and the other players fly out together four days before the tournament starts and are billeting with families there. “The billeting, they just feel it builds cohesiveness as a team,” said Mrs. Jones.
His family will travel down once the tournament begins but Jones will remain with the billet family.
Other teams playing in the World Series are from the United States, Japan, South Korea, Australia and the Dominican Republic.
The championship games on Aug. 17 and 18 will be televised live on the CBS Sports Network.