AURORA, Colo. — The spring sports season may be over, but those in the youth baseball and softball communities know that even if the calendar turns to summer, it doesn’t mean games come to an end.
On the contrary, summer means the beginning of a whole new season entirely.
Gaylord’s top athletes are out training for next season, and that includes the stars of the Gaylord softball team. The Blue Devils’ Aubrey Jones and Alexis Shepherd are both members of the Tennessee Mojo 2024 Abernathy, an elite travel team located in Jackson, Tenn.
Jones and Shepherd's team headed to Aurora, Colo. for the Fourth of July weekend to compete in the 53rd annual Colorado 4th of July Sparkler and Fireworks tournament from June 26 to July 3.
The highlight of the tournament came as two members of the Mojo Abernathy team were selected to play in the 16u Future Stars Game, an all-star game that was streamed live on ESPN 3 and WatchESPN, and the Gaylord-native Jones was among the participants in the game streamed nationally on Thursday, June 30.
Jones was a member of the Blue Team, one of 66 members of the two Future Stars teams. Every player got a spot in the batting order while defensive positions were rotated by the inning.
She eventually subbed into the game in the bottom of the third inning to play shortstop. Her inning in the field was quiet, but she got her shot to make her presence felt as the leadoff batter in the top of the fourth.
She did just that, greeting the Rhode Island Thunder’s Samantha Lincoln with a line-drive double over the right fielder’s head.
— Aubrey Jones (@AubreyJones2025) July 1, 2022
Had the wind not been blowing in from that side of the field, according to color commentator Kenzie Fowler Quinn, the ball likely would have cleared the fence.
“If she hits that ball on any other field at any other time, that’s a home run,” the ESPN NCAA softball analyst Fowler Quinn noted. “She just happens to hit it right into the wind.”
A single from Charlotte Herron would advance Jones to third, but the Red team would escape before Jones could score the tying run. That was it for Jones in the game, with the Blue Team eventually falling to the Red Team 4-3.
Jones was one of the the best players for the Gaylord softball team in 2022, finishing with a sub-one ERA at 0.84 over 67 innings pitched, while also hitting extremely well with a .480 batting average, 40 runs batted in and 10 home runs.
The replay of the game is still available to be streamed on ESPN 3 and the WatchESPN App.
This article originally appeared on The Petoskey News-Review: Aubrey Jones headlines Future Stars softball game streamed on ESPN