When Gavin Joes graduated from Mexico High School in 2015 after a spectacular career with the varsity baseball team, the fact he was able to parlay that experience into something more is a feat few in his position are able to accomplish.

What that led to was two seasons pitching for McHenry Community College, and once again when that opportunity came to a close a new door happened to be opening for him at the very same time. On the other side of that door was fellow Mexico grad and current Columbia College Baseball Head Coach Darren Munns, who, in turn, offered him the chance to throw for the Cougars, where he just graduated from with a bachelors degree and is now getting ready for life after athletics.

"Gavin had a successful junior college career as a reliever. I recruited him to pitch in the same role for us," said Munns. "He featured two above average breaking balls and is an extremely competitive pitcher."

In his initial season with Columbia Jones made just four appearances and ended up with a 7.36 earned run average in 3.2 innings pitched. He also struck out seven of the 19 batters he faced on his way to claiming a spot on the American Midwest Conference All-Academic Team. The next year, 2018, the physical issues that previously limited his playing time were still present, so it was decided the best thing to do was to redshirt him.

"Gavin was a great leader in our program. Unfortunately, he was injured most of his career and didn’t get many innings due to the injuries," Munns said. "Gavin graduated with a degree in History and a minor in Political Science. He plans to teach and coach. He will definitely have a positive impact on the young people he teaches and coaches."

This season, 2019, the Cougars finished with a record of 31-23 overall, 22-9 AMC. As for Jones, according to https://columbiacougars.com, his official statistics for the campaign consisted of one at-bat.

"Despite the career-ending arm injuries, Gavin ran our pitching charts during games and mentored our younger pitchers," said Munns. "He maintained a positive attitude and was the ultimate teammate. He made our program better, and we are grateful for his contributions."

One things Jones always had going for him, and still does, is that Munns wants to see him succeed. Now, with the loss of Jones and his other seniors to graduation, its back to finding the next generation of Cougars to man the diamond for this longtime collegiate hardball coach.

"It was nice having a fellow Mexicoan on my side when talking high school trash with other mid-Missouri guys on the team," Munns said. "Recruiting never stops. This season 75 percent of our roster were Missouri guys. We are fortunate, from a recruiting standpoint, that the high school baseball and junior college baseball in Missouri is very strong."