This one may have slipped past you:Former Grimsley pitcher Aaron Jones and Gospel Light fall to VCS

Posted by Andy Durham on April 11, 2008 at 11:30 am under High School | 30 Comments to Read

This may be one of the wildest stories of the year in today’s Spring Sports Report. You may find this to be the one of the most interesting and detailed stories that you will ever read at this site.

Many of you who follow along here at the site each day know some of the details already. Aaron Jones was a lefthanded pitcher for the Grimsley Whirlies last year. Aaron also played some at first base for Grimsley. Aaron’s family with dad Robbie Jones, mom, little brother Clint the cowboy, and Aaron’s grandad had come to Greensboro after living in Virginia and they wanted Aaron to attend Grimsley because they knew that the Whirlies’ program was undergirded with a solid foundation with Alan Ashkinazy as the head coach.

The Jones family is a good family and they were very supportive of the Grimsley program and felt like it was the right fit for Aaron. Aaron had spent some time at Gospel Light Christian in Walkertown before he came over to Grimsley. As a lefty with a nice curveball Aaron showed much promise on the mound and he was a big help last year at first base and Aaron could hit the ball and get on base, plus he drove in some key runs in Grimsley’s run to the Metro 4-A conference tournament championship.

Aaron did well enough to draw interest from several area colleges and he received a scholarship offer from UNC-Wilmington which he accepted. Aaron played summer Palomino ball with many of his Grimsley teammates on the Shockers, coached by Lester Rivenbark Sr.

Well when the fall of the year rolls around, the fall of 2007 to be exact, Aaron decides not to return to Grimlsey for his senior year but he makes the move to go back to Gospel Light Christian School in Walkertown and to play baseball for the Lions.

This caused more than a few eyeballs to start rolling and a ton of questions came up. For starters why leave a program like Grimsley’s that helped get you crucial college attention to go to Gospel Light where you won’t even be on the baseball map?(Unless you have AD/Andy Durham following the story) How will pitching for Gospel Light get you ready for the rigors of college ball when you head off to UNC-W for the fall of 2008? How will the coaches at UNC-W handle this news of the move back to Gospel Light? These are just a few of the questions that were being tossed around.

This all takes us up to the present and to Thursday April 10, 2008. The Gospel Light Christian Lions vs. the Vikings from Vandalia Christian School. The lefty Aaron Jones has taken the step down to the lower level of play and he is the starting pitcher for Gospel Light and guess what? Gospel Light loses to Vandalia 5-4 and Aaron Jones is the losing pitcher…. How’s that gonna look on your college baseball entry records? Aaron did have some impressive individual stats; 12 strikeouts in 7 innings, but he lost to Vandalia, and that’s a far cry different from say losing to East Forsyth or Northwest Guilford. This is not meant to degrade Vandalia. I was conference coach-of-the-year in softball a couple of times back in the 80’s while coaching at Vandalia and once had 7 of the 10 members on the all-conference team so there are some good things going on out there at VCS and at Gospel Light.

My only thoughts are how do you get better and how does it prepare you for DI college ball when you transfer to a private school on Christian school competition levels and you leave a public school that is competing on the highest level in the state at the 4-A classification? One year at Vandalia we had a kid, Mike Wilson, that had been at Smith and Greensboro Day School and he came in to play baseball and he later got drafted by the Braves and played briefly in Atlanta’s farm system. There are some rare occasions.

Bottom line here is that Aaron Jones leaves Grimsley to go back to Gospel Light and his team loses to Vandalia Christian and Aaron is the losing pitcher. How’s that going to look to the baseball coaches at UNC-Wilmington?

We mentioned Aaron’s numbers in the game and credit goes to Vandalia’s Nick Taylor who was 4-4 and scored 3 runs in the VCS 5-4 win over Gospel Light. Also from yesterday, Dudley beat Page for the second time this season by the 12-4 final. Frankie Johnson, Rueben Torelles, and Eric Kimber led Dudley and Nick Jones along with Zach Kornblum paced Page. High Point Central topped Smith 10-4.

On tap for today we have:

SWG at WS Carver
Eastern Randolph at Ragsdale
WG at NEG
HP Central at East Forsyth
SG at EG
SEG at Asheboro
Grimsley at Smith
NG at Bartlett Yancey
Rockingham County at Dudley


  • David Boyd said,

    Regarding the ‘ton of questions’ that came up, here’s an idea – call the kid and ask him about it.

  • Andy said,

    Are you crazy? Nobody wants to talk to me…..

    Every time I call they think it’s Mike Wallace from 60 Minutes and I’m trying to chase them down and then it’s CLICK.

    I’ll have to keep on digging and take what I can get.

  • Danny Shutt said,

    Just wanted to say congratulations to Nick Taylor. Nick started playing baseball at Pleasant Garden when he was five. I coached him there and at GBC for several years. Nick Played on some of the travel teams with Tiger Miller(SEG), Adam Kirkpatrick(SEG), Dylan Shutt(SEG), Dallas Smith(ER), Kory McKinney(NWG) and George Carter(Grimsley). Nick has
    always had a good bat and is a good catcher, just wish his dad would put in a county school.

  • Andy said,

    There was a kid that played on Dylan S. and Tiger M’s PONY team last year and he was from Vandalia and he was a pitcher and the kid looked pretty good. Is this the same kid, his dad was one of the coaches of the PONY team and again this kid had talent and I was asking Keith Miller the other day what ever happened to this kid???Good high leg-kick and overall good mechanics….

  • Danny Shutt said,

    I don’t remember Nick playing on that team but it could have been Steven Conger. He plays for Vandalia and his father did coach. He also played at PG and some for GBC.

  • robbie jones said,

    Andy, call us we will answer your questions.

    Robbie Jones (Aaron’s Dad)
    963-0972

  • jeff said,

    several years ago there was a kid (don’t remember his name) that attended Gospel light.He was a very gifted pithcer.So good in fact that the baseball coach/youth pastor advised him to transfer to east forsyth so as to get some looks.the kid took his advice, was signed by wake forest and later drafted by the braves.not sure where he is now, but do know that he did pitch for the braves at mlb level.the youth pastor and a group from gospel light went to Turner Field to support him.

  • Tim Hicks said,

    Our family and the Jones family have been extremely close since Aaron was 2 years old, and we have followed his success every step of the way. It has been said that good journalism is unbiased, telling the whole story. What you don’t know and didn’t tell is Aaron began seeing a weakness, not in his game, but in his life. He told his parents that if he were going to make it in a secular college, with all the pressures, he needed to be in a place where he could work on strengthening his character. I ask you, when was the last time you knew an athlete to put character above fame or the applause of man. Maybe if more did, the media would be able to concentrate on the accomplishments of athletes rather than how many of them are being arrested. I and many others have applauded Aaron for his unselfish decision.

    Tim Hicks
    Gospel Light Athletic Director

  • Braves said,

    This was by far the most hurtful, unprofessional tabloid journalism I have ever read. I don’t know who the author is of this story, but he should be ashamed for tarnishing the name of the player and his family about a decision that was personal. It is of nobody’s concern why this family returned to a christian school; perhaps the environment fit his need to grow with God. I don’t know, the author doesn’t know and quite honestly, it is none of our business to know.

    I find this article very troubling and hope the powers to be of this site show more character than it’s author and delete this inflammatory article immediately. In fact, if it was my son I would be seeking legal advice prohibiting this type information does not get posted again…..sheeesh…this was a terrible muckraking story.

  • Art said,

    I am with Braves. This is a classless and childish post from someone with an obvious axe to grind. You should be ashamed of yourself and apologize immediately and hope you do not get served with a lawsuit.

  • dawgswood said,

    Andy, why is it anybody’s business why this young mans family decided to attend a Christian school? How is that newsworthy at all? If you wrote this article about my kid I wouldnt talk to you either. Do you have an explanation as to why this is newsworthy?

  • Plate Dad said,

    Looks to me that you either have something against this kid, school or the move in general. Or maybe it is that you are a kid in HS trying to report a story. If it the later you need more practice. If it is the first three. This is not a story. Want ever a kid decides to do is his business. Many students transfer to other schools. Some for sports, some for the education even some for reasons we can not understand. But, we must respect those decisions.

  • 15hardball07 said,

    Here is a question…forget the kid. What does writing an ignorant story like this say for your career, character, and conscience?

  • itslife said,

    Andy, way to make something out of nothing!! My advice to the family – do not give this guy another thought. No one cares what he has to say, especially UNCW.

  • Jim D said,

    As a parent all we can do is provide the opportunity to our children to be successful in all they do. There are many athletes that compete in the private schools that are tremendous athletes. Seth Simmons for instance benefited by going to Calvary Baptist and is doing well @ East Carolina. The fact that there are good hitters in all levels of play creates the reality that there are no pushovers. Why are you not commending the Hitter that had such a great day against a great pitcher. Many of us that choose Private Christain schools to mold our young men and women wait until the child is ready to move them to the sometimes harsh environment of public school. Sounds like this young man has his priorities straight.. Some one should break this mans pen or delete his computer until he is more unbiased.

  • Jeff J said,

    I’m not sure why this story was written. I know coach Scaff at UNCW and he had no problem with Aaron transfering to Gospel Light. Aaron playes in several leagues.. all year long, so his baseball skills are inproving each day. Aaron grew up at Gospel Light, his long time friends are there. He decided, in his sophomore year, that his baseball growth needed to be at Grimsley. Aaron later decided that by going to Grimsley, other aspects of his life were suffering. He wanted to be with his friends when he graduated, so which decision was wrong for him, the first as a sophomore or the second as a senior? If you know anything about Aaron, he is first and foremost a first baseman. A first baseman that can really hit. His pitching is a sideline, something he does to help a team. UNCW recruited Aaron as an infielder, even a DH. The fact that he also can pitch was just a plus. Most very good High School Baseball players also do some pitching. Did the Writer even go to the Vandalia game?
    Gospel Lights’ defense let Aaron down. Even the best pitchers lose. Aaron and his family have their own reasons why he left Grimsley. It could be that the Jones’ just got fed up with government schools and decided to give Aaron the chance for more moral scructure. Whatever the reason, UNCW will be getting a fine player that will not end up on a police blotter, and that is what coach scaff is looking for.

  • Dbacks said,

    I don’t really understand the purpose of this story……this was obviously a family decision where I seriously doubt baseball was a factor.

  • Justin Smith said,

    Aaron is a fine player no matter where he attends school! Aaron knows that the coaches at UNCW have high hopes for him and i bet you this, he is not running from talent this summer as we Proehlific will play some of the top teams in the country. Aaron is a good kid and i frustrates me someone would say what will coaches think about it, and in a nutshell THEY WONT CARE AARON IS A HITTER AND PITCHERS AND NO MATTER WHAT HE WINS AND LOOSES HE WIL PLAY AT A TOP 25 SCHOOL. GOOD LUCK AARON

  • pinklady said,

    Andy if you are so proud of your writings (which I’m not) why didn’t you publish your full name? You win some and you lose some.

  • trevor said,

    Here’s a thought, Mr. Druham: Maybe his reasons for transfering had nothing to do with baseball or sports at all? Why does every decision maded have to revolve around sports? Maybe the young man and his family thought it best he attend another school. Lastly, who are you– or anyone — to question their motives? This was a personal decision in which you know nothing about. Respect it.

  • His Girlfriend said,

    There was no reason for this article to be written because you dont know all the facts…Aaron is a great baseball player and it doesn’t matter what school you play at! Aaron made a personal decision to leave Grimsley because he wanted to get everything right in his life before he left for UNCW. This decision was not an easy one for him, he was leaving behind the friends he had made in the 2 years he was at Grimsley, everybody supported the decision he made and was very proud of him. i personally believe that Aaron would not be the person that he is today if it weren’t for Gospal Light. Aaron is a really great person and anybody that knows him would tell you that. I know that you might not understand why he did this but you shouldn’t put Aaron down for choosing to put God before baseball when you dont even know the whole story…maybe you should call and get the facts straight before you write your stories.

  • Adam L. said,

    To Jeff who posted on April 12,

    I’d like to inform you that your information, whatever it’s source may be, is completely incorrect. I am the “kid who attended Gospel Light” brother. The “kid’s” name is John Hendricks. He won the State Tournament for GL as a lefty pitcher when he was in eighth grade. Because of some social misunderstandings, John decided to leave GL and go to Glenn; not East Forsyth and not under the leadership of his coach or pastor staff. He was indeed awarded a full ride to Wake Forest University where he went on to break almost every pitching record they had including stikeouts, complete games, innings pitched, era, wins, and even won two ACC Championships and was awarded MVP of the ACC. After his senior year, he was drafted by the Mets, not the Braves. He never played at Turner Field and Gospel Light never took a group to see him play. For your future reference, he is now the Associate Head Coach at Lenior Rhyne College.

    As far as the article itself, it was a boring read. It was mostly ignorant hype. The coach @ UNCW was cool with Aaron decision to move back to GL. I think the bolding of the score was childish. I think Aaron sumed it up the best when he was asked about this whole ordeal; he said “You know, I lost a game. Chances are I’ll lose another one at some point in my life.” It’s pathetic that a kid in high school has a more level head on his shoulders than some self absorbed no-named local journalist. I couldn’t help but laugh when the writer flaunted his own esteem saying “why leave a program like Grimsley’s that helped get you crucial college attention to go to Gospel Light where you won’t even be on the baseball map?(Unless you have AD/Andy Durham following the story)”

    I’ve known Aaron for many years now, and I think this might be one of the best decisions I’ve seen him make. However, its irrelevent what I think about or what the writer’s thought are; the point is, ther comes a time in the life of everyone where you have to make a decision and live with the results that decision produces. Let the future prove whether this was a wise move, not a bitter and biased reporter.

  • Coach Ash said,

    Live and let live people. I was Aaron’s Coach at Grimsley and Aaron and his family did what they felt was best for Aaron.PERIOD! I understand that more now that I’m a Dad. Andy Durham wrote that article to get a buzz on his web-site. It worked! Andy Durham did what he felt was best for his business. It’s not a big deal. The Grimsley program goes on with or without Aaron, just like The Gospel Light program went on without Aaron while he was at Grimsley. No one is bigger than the game. The Grimsley program would go on without me as well! Would I still like to have Aaron Jones at Grimsley…? Of course, but I don’t ,and that opened the doors for a new player to imerge. Andy Durham is a good guy and does a lot for Greensboro Sports. All he did was state his opinion and throw a question out there and everyone bit. Not a bad move as a journalist. Good Luck Aaron at Wilmington, Good Luck Andy with this whole thing…and Go Whirlies vs. Northwest tomorrow 6:00 at Grimsley.

  • TomW said,

    “All he did was state his opinion and throw a question out there and everyone bit. Not a bad move as a journalist.”
    “Andy Durham did what he felt was best for his business”

    At the expense of a HS kid and his family? I suppose the editors at National Enquirer might call it great journalism; I’ll call it a cheap shot. If one has to use a kid to get a “buzz” on his website…that’s sad. For those that support this type of journalism, I hope you will never have to wake up one morning and read about your teenage son’s character and integrity being questioned in the media. Of course, if you don’t have a kid….. you probably won’t get it.

    If you want to take issue with a coach, a school or administrators…fine, they are adults or an institution. But to attack a kid and a family’s decision?……….Wow!!!!!!! For this to be acceptable as normal behavior, all I can say is—the times have changed.

  • Sox said,

    GOOD LUCK AARON!

  • Luke said,

    I was just made aware of this little article through another coach and I saw the Vandalia vs. Gospel Light game because I’m the head coach at Vandalia. It was a well pitched game and could have gone either way. And as far as hurting his chances at playing at a college level or anyone’s chances well I don’t buy into that. Good athletes will find their way into college programs. I’m sure that Grimsley is a really good baseball team as are probably a dozen other teams that are local but do you have to be at a public/county school to have the market cornered on baseball. I think his decision and his family’s decision will show rewards that will be far greater than rewards anyone can achieve on the baseball diamond

  • Danny Shutt said,

    Coach Luke,
    I agree somewhat with your statement that good athletes will find a way into college. My past experience with getting a child into college and playing college sports taught me a lot. The best way into college is grades. If you go the sports route football players have the best chance for scholarships. College baseball usually does not give a lot of money. I feel that it really doesn’t matter too much that a player attends a private or public school. What does matter is that the player must expose themself to the right people. By that I mean, play showcase ball, go to showcase camps, make a video or play in a state championship. They must start early and be persistant, don’t wait until the senior year or it is too late. I have spoken with some college softball coaches and they said they rarely go watch high school games. They don’t have the time during the season. They do go to many travel ball showcase tournaments during the summer. Don’t count on being discovered by just playing for your high school, get your name out there and in front of as many college coaches as possible. Don’t rely on the coach to do it for you. Many coaches work hard to get their players in school and many don’t. If you have a desire to play sports in college I believe there is a school for everyone. It may not be D1 but there are many other options. I know I have probably rambled too much, but my message is for players to get their name out there and do it early. It doesn’t matter what school you attend.

  • Luke said,

    I agree completely with what Danny says

  • HSballfan said,

    The doors that Coach Ash is talking about seem to open for recruited out of district players only.
    Which of course also play for a GBC team.
    Imagine that?

  • David Taylor said,

    This is in response to Danny Schutts comment on April 11th. I’m Nick Taylors dad. We sent Nick to Vandalia Christian School To get a education not to play baseball. My wife and I felt that private Christian schools had more to offer than public schools. I think Aaron and his family think the same thing. Fortunatly for nick he does play baseball. He did play for Danny Schutt starting at age 5. Nick has a great deal of respect for Danny and all the coaches Alan at GBC, Greg Smith at the North Carolina baseball Academy He learned a grest deal of baseball from them. Nick plays showcase baseball for the Academy. And he also plays for Vandalia Christian School. Luke Oates is Nicks coach at Vandaila and I have great confidence in coach oats ability to help Nick get exposure to colleges.Danny is right that you have to have good grades and exposeure to get into a college. I guess my point is it does not matter what school they attend, but who the coaches are that they have along the way . And how the student applies him/her self.