Randy Jones holds clinic in Imperial

December 09, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

IMPERIAL — If there's one thing high school coaches try to stress to their players in every sport it's the importance of learning fundamentals.

But it's one thing for a high school coach to try to instill fundamentals in his players. It's another if it comes from a Cy Young Award winner.

The Imperial High baseball pitching staff learned firsthand Saturday the importance of pitching mechanics from former San Diego Padre and Cy Young winner Randy Jones.

"That's really where you have to start. What I stress with these kids is the basic fundamentals and the importance of consistency," said Jones, who was in the Imperial Valley for some duck hunting. "I'm not trying to change a kid's style. I'm just trying to apply more to what they already have.


"There's a difference between a thrower and a pitcher. I'm trying to help these kids be better pitchers by making small adjustments in their mechanics and being consistent," said Jones. "I think one of the reasons I was able to pitch as well as I did was because I was consistent. That's another thing I'm trying to teach them here."

The main reason, though, that Imperial coach William Estes asked Jones for his help was because of his style of pitching. In his prime in the 1970s, Jones wasn't an overpowering pitcher. His fastball didn't top 90 mph. What he was more known for was control, placement and off-speed pitching.

"That was probably the No. 1 reason I wanted to have him come down here and work with our guys, because of his style," said Estes. "We don't have overpowering pitchers, like some of the other schools in the Valley. And I think Randy's a good example for our guys, showing them that you can succeed without an overpowering fastball."

What also played a part in Estes' reasoning for bringing in Jones was the strength of reputation of a Cy Young winner. As much as Estes or any high school baseball coach tries to feed his players knowledge, Estes thinks it means even more them to hear it from a proven major league pitcher.

For Imperial pitcher Aaron Hartsock, it wasn't just about hearing from a major leaguer but getting the opportunity to improve his pitching with tips from a former pro.

"It means a lot to learn these things from him because he knows what he's talking about. When I was up there, he was kind of getting on my when I'd mess up. But I know he's just trying to help me," said the 17-year-old senior. "I know we've learned a lot more with his help. I think with what he's shown us and taught us, we'll be a better pitching staff this year."

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