“I’ve always been, according to my parents, pretty aggressive so I liked to be able to apply my aggression in some organized manner,” Jones said. “I loved that I could be successful at it too. I just loved it and never looked back.”
Over the years, that love for the game has grown. Developing right alongside his love for baseball has been Jones’ drive to win. Now a senior at Spanish Springs, Jones is using the same passion he exuded as a 6-year-old to lead the Cougars.
“As a senior, I’d like to see myself as a leader,” Jones said. “I want to make it happen for our younger guys. I think it just gives me a will to go out and play for my guys. If my pitcher is dealing on the mound, I want to show that intensity behind him from myself and the rest of our defense. The same thing if I am dealing on the mound, I want that same intensity behind me. I want to show my guys that I’m out there competing for them. It’s just a good way to pick your guys up if you’re working hard for them.”
One area that Jones has picked up the Cougars the most has been with his bat. So far this season in 11 Division I North contests, Jones is leading Spanish Springs in a number of categories. With a .375 batting average thus far, including batting .571 with runners in scoring position, Jones leads the way in runs batted in (14) and home runs (3). He is also tied for tops in hits (12) and runs (14), while also leading the Cougs on the base paths with 10 steals.
“He’s really worked on an approach where he’s not pulling everything,” Spanish Springs coach Ben Hofmann said. “He’s using the whole field, and now that he’s doing that, it’s really hard to pitch to him because he is utilizing the whole field. There’s not a lot of ways to get him out. If guys come in on him, he can hit it hard and pull it and if they stay away, he’s been driving it back up the middle. He’s really just becoming a tough out because of his approach at the plate.”
While Jones has come up big for the Cougars at the dish, in the field and on the mound (three saves in as many opportunities), the SSHS skipper said it may be the attitude Jones brings to the park everyday that has made the largest impression on the Purple and Silver this season.
“Lucas just leads by example,” Hofmann said. “He’s a quiet leader. He doesn’t say a whole lot. He’s not a rah-rah guy, but he hustles on the field and hustles off. He just has a great attitude and he does everything you ask him to do. He competes every time he’s on the mound or at the plate or in the field. Wherever he’s at, it’s full compete, all the time.
“We have a lot of those guys and Lucas leads by example. Everything he does is at 100 percent and he does his best. That’s all you can ask of a kid. You want them to give everything they got and he does that. It’s contagious. The rest of the guys pick up on it.”
While Jones is sure to leave it all out on the field, he also makes sure to crack some jokes in the dugout, even if at his own expense.
“I think just keeping it kind of lighthearted is important because it keeps you from taking the game so serious,” he said. “You’re out here to have fun and I think a part of success is having fun with it. I have all kind of ways where I can get to my guys. So if I am able to take something that happened on the field and rib a guy about it or give myself stuff about it, I think it just helps to move on and stay positive. It just keeps things not as serious as everyone can make it out to be sometimes.”
Through 18 games this season, the Cougars have displayed that same lighthearted-intensity en route to a 14-4 record overall and 8-3 mark in conference play. Now with just nine games remaining on the regular season schedule, Jones said he is making sure to soak up as much of his time left as SSHS as he can.
“Playing alongside these guys,” Jones said is the thing he’ll miss the most. “It’s a really good group of guys and we’re all doing it for each other. We’ve all been friends for a long time, so it’s like a second family. Just being out there with all of my guys is something that I wouldn’t give up.”
Once the season is over for the Cougars, Jones will trade in his bat and glove for a cap and gown. Afterward, Jones will dawn a completely new uniform as he applies the same passion he exudes on the diamond to his dream of serving his country as member of the Air National Guard.
“I’ve always wanted to serve our country and I have a big family, so staying local and staying home around my family was always important to me,” Jones said. “Both of my grandparents were in it and I’ve had uncles in it. I’ve always just had a lot of respect for the guys who go out and fight and defend our freedom. So being able to do both at once, stay home and serve our country was an enticing thing to me.”
Another thing that attracted Jones to the Air National Guard was the fact that it would aid him in continuing his education. Once he returns home from training in San Antonio as well as Arkansas, Jones will join the Nevada Air National Guard and he also plans to enroll at the University of Nevada where he hopes to earn a nursing degree and pursue a career as an EMT or paramedic.
Although he has big dreams for his future, there is still at least one dream to be chased for Jones and his teammates.
“Go down to Vegas for our team,” Jones said, alluding to a potential state tournament trip that would be a perfect ending to the Cougars’ season. “That would do it for me.”