When the coaching staff at Eastfield College held tryouts during the summer, they held no predispositions about where their candidates for their 2012-13 squad might play. So when Weatherford grad Jered Rhodes took the mound, the staff saw the potential of adding another arm to its pitching staff, always a valuable commodity for any program.
“They really liked my velocity, and said they would work with me on my mechanics,” Rhodes said.”I guess they are going to kind of mold me into a better pitcher.”
Rhodes spent his off-mound time playing infield for the Roos, picking up the bat on a regular basis. He not only picked up the bat, he used it well, finishing the season hitting well over .400. Perhaps Eastfield will utilize Rhodes’ offensive punch at times, but they are mostly interested in developing his arm, for now.
“The Eastfield coach sat me down and said they were really interested in making a pitcher out of me,” the former Roo student-athlete said. “I’ll miss hitting because it has always been a big part of my game, but I’ll do whatever I have to do to get to the next level and help out the team.”
The quality of the Eastfield program is reinforced with a quick look at its recent history. Perennial Metro Athletic Conference champs (the last three in a row), the Harvesters also have a few national championship belts in its trophy case. The culling process at the tryouts is stringent and a callback is a good indication they have picked the talent for the next year.
“[Some programs] at the JUCO level may bring in 70 players or more, and then they will cut over half of them, which means some of those kids have wasted some of their time going through the tryout process,” Jered said. “They seem to be straight shooters at Eastfield, because they basically go through their cutting process at the tryouts.