Jets, Patriots baseball have plenty of college-bound players
It is that time of year where senior baseball players trade in their uniforms for the cap and gown to walk across the stage and graduate high school.
Graduation is a bittersweet feeling for many who have to say goodbye to the game of baseball as college and the real world beckons.
For some players, the game leads them further ahead into college baseball.
The James Clemens and Bob Jones baseball programs combine to have 12 seniors advancing to play the game at the next level.
The Jets ended up with five, while the Patriots had seven in the class of 2023.
Here is a breakdown of the graduating players and where they are going to play college ball.
Bob Jones pitcher Ben Arn – Southern Union State Community College
As a senior for the Patriots, Arn was a highly-reliable starter who excelled at collecting swings and misses.
The lefthander finished with eight wins, 63.1 innings pitched with a 1.77 ERA that included 80 strikeouts.
James Clemens shortstop Andrew Lawrence – East Tennessee State University
A highly-competitive senior leader for the Jets, Lawrence was a driving offensive force and a strong glove at short.
When Lawrence’s number was called to step up as the closer in big spots, the senior gave his all for his team on the mound as well going 4 for 4 in save situations.
The James Clemens shortstop had a .362 batting average as a senior with 20 RBIs and 42 hits that included 5 triples.
While on the mound, Lawrence finished the year with 27 strikeouts and just 11 walks.
Bob Jones right fielder CJ Bush – Coastal Alabama East Community College
An athletic player in right and a clutch bat at the plate, Bush was a key fixture in the lineup for Bob Jones as the Patriots dominated in the regular season.
Bush finished his senior year with a .319 batting average, 29 hits, 19 RBIs and 42 runs scored that included eight doubles and three home runs for the Patriots.
The senior was even more impressive standing in right field with his .927 fielding percentage as he converted 38 of 41 total chances making him borderline automatic out there for Bob Jones.
James Clemens catcher Colten Payton – Wallace State Community College
The constant voice of the Jets on the field, Payton was always ready to gun down would-be base stealers with his cannon of an arm behind the plate.
The senior catcher finished with a .369 batting average, 45 hits and 25 RBIs.
Payton caught 18 base stealers in his final year with the Jets, a total that put him at a percentage of 41.86.
Bob Jones pitcher and first baseman Sam Mitchell – University of Alabama
The ace on the mound for the Patriots, Mitchell broke records and sent many opponents to the dugout disappointed with his dominant pitching.
Mitchell finished 17th in the nation with his 130 strikeouts as a senior while his 10 wins helped power Bob Jones into the playoffs.
At the plate, the ace pitcher had a .299 batting average with 34 RBIs and six home runs.
James Clemens third baseman Nate Guyse – Snead State Community College
A power bat that came back from double knee surgery, Guyse’s numbers may have dipped compared to his junior year, but the kid was still always dangerous when he stepped into the box.
Guyse collected 10 doubles with 18 RBIs and 13 runs scored as a senior.
Bob Jones shortstop Nate Mayfield – Coastal Alabama East Community College
The king of the hot quote, Mayfield left his mark as a senior for Bob Jones with a signature moment in Game 1 of the James Clemens series as he hit a go-ahead 2-run home run to win the game and set the tone for the rivalry matchup late in the year.
A .322 batting average as a senior that included 39 runs scored, 32 RBIs, nine doubles and 7 home runs it came as no surprise that Mayfield was a lock batting third in the lineup for Bob Jones game after game.
James Clemens pitcher Hunter Harris – Columbia State Community College
As a senior and first-year transfer from Nashville, Tenn. Harris found another level in Game 3 of the Bob Jones series as a reliever.
In 28.2 innings pitched, Harris struck out 38 batters for James Clemens.
Bob Jones center fielder Sammy Vander Hill – Motlow State Community College
A consistent fielder with plenty of speed, Vander Hill collected 37 runs scored for the Patriots as a senior.
Batting in the 2-spot Vander Hill’s 21 RBIs, seven doubles, four triples and four home runs helped drive Bob Jones to victory when the spotlight was on him.
James Clemens pitcher/batter Grant Gage – Wallace State Community College
Gage appeared in 26 innings where he struck out 24 for the Jets.
Bob Jones left fielder Aidan Doyle – Calhoun Community College
A valuable cog in the Patriots offensive machine, Doyle batted .320 as a senior with 33 hits, 22 RBIs and three home runs.
Bob Jones infielder Mason Freeman – Gadsden State Community College
Coming off the bench, Freeman had a .205 batting average with five hits, 5 RBIs and a double for the Patriots.