The Gatorade State Baseball Players of the Year were selected based on athletic production and impact in the 2015-16 season. Each winner also demonstrated high academic achievement and exemplary personal character, including volunteerism, sportsmanship and community leadership.
For a list of the other Gatorade State Baseball Players of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Thomas Jones
School: Laurens District (Laurens, S.C.)
Weight: 205 pounds
Athletic achievement: He batted .420 with five home runs, 19 RBI and 38 runs scored, leading the Raiders (18-11) to the Class 4A district championship game this past season. A 2015 Under Armour All-American, Jones compiled a .716 slugging percentage and stole 16 bases in 17 attempts.
Academic excellence: Jones has maintained a 3.66 GPA.
Exemplary character: A member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, he has volunteered locally on behalf of an elementary school literacy-outreach program and participated in Palmetto Boys State, an American Legion program providing students with an opportunity to experience the workings of government.
“Thomas Jones is hands down the most talented player we have competed against this year,” says Stanley Moss, Emerald High head coach. “He is a five-tool player and what makes him special is how he approaches the game. He is very mature for his age and plays the game with passion, but very under control.”
THE FUTURE: Jones has signed a National Letter of Intent to play baseball on scholarship at Vanderbilt University this fall.