He became the seventh player in the last 45 Little League World Series to swat three home runs in a game, achieving the feat for the Jackie Robinson West team from Chicago in Thursday’s 12-2 drubbing of Lynnwood, Wash., in South Williamsport, Pa.
“I never think I’ve had a game like this,” Jones, who also tripled, drove in four runs and scored four times, told ESPN after the game. “I just wanted to have a short, quick approach, drive the ball up the middle and have good at-bats.
“I hope I can carry it on to the next [game].”
That will be Sunday at 2 p.m. ET when JRW faces Las Vegas.
Jones, the leadoff hitter for Jackie Robinson West, wasted little time setting the tone in Thursday’s contest, clearing the fence in right-centre field on the game’s third pitch.
He tripled and scored on a groundout in the second inning, clubbed a two-run homer in a five-run third and led off the fifth inning with another blast to left field while his grandfather, Albert Nelson, was being interviewed by ESPN.
Jones has some major league players like Colorado pitcher LaTroy Hawkins, brothers Justin and B.J. Upton of the Atlanta Braves and Detroit Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter to thank for his family being in attendance.
They chipped in to pay the travel costs to Williamsport for the players’ families.
“It’s the inner city, so it’s what I love to do, give those [boys] the life experiences more than anything,” Hunter told The Associated Press. “Their families, the kids, get a chance to travel and go somewhere and see something different.
“I think if you give more inner-city kids those life experiences, it changes everything.”
Jones is a member of the first all-black team from Chicago to reach the LLWS since 1983. Comprised of all African-American players, Jackie Robinson West is also the first Urban Initiative affiliate to earn a berth since Harlem in 2002.
Jackie Robinson West, representing the Great Lakes this week, is one of almost 200 Urban Initiative Leagues in about 100 cities across the United States.