RUMSON, N.J. — Rumson-Fair Haven (RFH) senior, Charlie Jones, has signed a national letter of intent to play baseball with Wake Forest University starting with the 2022-23 season.
Jones started playing baseball around the age of six when he joined the t-ball team. That led to playing on town recreation teams, travel ball and eventually high school. He played other sports as well, but baseball had his heart.
As he got older and more focused on baseball, he met Coach Pat Geroni at a summer camp and began taking private lessons with him. Geroni is currently the head baseball coach at the Ranney School, but is also involved with Jones’ travel team, the East Coast Ghost. That team participates in Perfect Game tournaments and showcases around the country.
A starting pitcher for the RFH Bulldogs, Jones will earn his fourth varsity letter this spring. The right-hander threw a 90-mph fastball this past summer and fall while playing with East Coast Ghost. He hopes to continue throwing that and more when he takes the field this spring with the Bulldogs.
However, Jones’ favorite pitch is his curve ball, which was the first pitch Geroni showed him at a young age.
“I was super comfortable with that pitch,” Jones said. “For the entire spring season, for every 3-2 count I got in, I only threw curve balls. Most high school hitters don’t expect that 3-2 curve to drop right in there. Most are looking for a fastball or a take.”
According to Bulldogs coach Owen Stewart, Jones has matured tremendously as a pitcher, crediting him with winning big games.
“His confidence grew with every start and his competitiveness sets him apart,” Stewart said.
Jones also demonstrates leadership qualities. When he’s not pitching, he is encouraging his teammates and helping the coaches.
“He studies the game from the bench when it’s not his day to pitch,” Stewart said. “He focuses and studies the other team’s hitters and notices the little things. He’s become a really great teammate.”
When Wake Forest assistant coach Ty Blankmeyer called Jones over the summer to participate in an invite only camp hosted by the university, Jones was in Georgia competing in the WWBA tournament. Jones couldn’t have been more excited.
“I thought it was going to be a spam call because it was a 908-area code,” Jones said. “My jaw dropped. I was not expecting that at all. He said, ‘we want to see you there.’ There was no saying no to that. It’s a dream school.”
The call could not have come at a more perfect time, as Jones had just de-committed from William and Mary. It was a mutual decision between him and the school after the coach who originally recruited him left for another college.
Hearing from Wake Forest was a dream come true. Jones was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, at a hospital right next to Wake Forest’s campus. Jones and his family moved to New Jersey in 2011.
“I still have cousins there,” Jones said. “I go down there a lot.”
Competing in the ACC Conference, the Demon Deacons offer a state-of-the-art pitching lab, which includes over 20 high speed cameras to analyze the biomechanics of every player.
Jones credits his parents for his success. He has nothing but gratitude for their unwavering support.
“My mom and dad have been huge for me,” Jones said. “Someone I can always talk to. They’ve driven me around for years. They deal with all the money that comes along with travel. Filming my pitches. I couldn’t be more thankful for the roles they play for me. I’m so fortunate to have them. They are the two most important people in my success in baseball and in life as well.”
At 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds, Jones also plays on the RFH basketball team but still trains all year long, multiple days a week, for baseball.
As he begins his final season for RFH, he wants to win it all. In 2021, the Bulldogs lost in the semifinals of both the Shore Conference Tournament and the NJSIAA Sectional Tournament, though the team did win the Monmouth County Tournament for the first time in school history.
“Two big goals are to win both those tournaments and the Monmouth County tournament,” Jones said. “We’d like to get all three of those and find as much success as we can. Overall, we want to have the best time doing it because it’s our last time together. It’s a great group of guys who have been playing together for years.”
Jones is undecided on his major at Wake Forest but heads to campus in early July to start his collegiate baseball career. He hopes to make an immediate impact on the team.
“If they need me out of the bullpen, if they need me starting, if they need me to develop as a player,” Jones said. “Whatever they need me to do. Wake Forest has always been a dream of mine.”
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