Stanford baseball player Brock Jones has been on fire this year. The rising junior finished the 2021 season hitting .311 with 18 home runs. He helped lead his team to the College World Series (CWS) with a three home run game in the super regional against Texas Tech. Though Stanford came up short of the trophy, the experience was reinvigorating for a team that last made it to Omaha in 2008.
With his great feats on the diamond, Jones was invited to the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team, a huge honor given the small number of spots compared to the hundreds of college athletes. Along with the invitation to play with Team USA, Jones was selected second team All-American by Baseball America magazine, a welcome accomplishment for his sophomore season. Jones sat down with The Daily to discuss his recent achievements and takeaways from the 2021 season.
The Stanford Daily (TSD): How did it feel to advance so far into the CWS in this very difficult season with so many unknowns?
Brock Jones (BJ): It was awesome, just going from where we were the season before, being 4-11 in the 15 games that we played, or whatever it was. Coming out to being one of the top eight or top six teams, whatever it was, in the country is awesome. It just pays dividends to the coaching staff and this team and how much work we put in the offseason. It kind of just shows how hard we work and just how bad we wanted it.
TSD: Can you tell me a little bit about the whole Team USA experience? What was it like? What did you do? And what did you like about it?
BJ: It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime kind of opportunity to experience for me, being around a bunch of athletes similar to myself all around the country and the amazing coaching staff that we had. It was a ton of fun. It was about three to four weeks of early work, games and all that stuff. And hanging out with some of the guys, getting to know guys from all over the country. It was awesome. And I wouldn’t want to change it for the world.
TSD: Was it a little bit weird to play with players that you played against during the season?
BJ: It was pretty funny because a lot of us kind of have a little bit of beef… and then you get to know them, and they’re just just like you, they’re trying to do the same thing that you are. So it was actually pretty funny because I was talking to Jace Jung, for example, from Texas Tech, and when we were at the Super [Regional Tournament], I was like, I just don’t like this kid. And after USA, it’s like, now we’re texting every day.
TSD: At the end of the national team experience, you guys got a chance to play against the Olympic team. What was it like playing them and were you nervous at all?
BJ: Yeah, it was definitely different. It was crazy. Because we were in the hotel, some of the guys in the collegiate team, we were just hanging out in the lobby, kind of watching the Olympic guys coming in, and just seeing who was coming in and stuff like that. And they’ll walk in with kids and a wife and stuff like that. And it’s just a totally different deal. But it was awesome to watch how they go about the game. They were a lot of fun to be around and play against. And just watching them be loose and have fun. Obviously, they’re doing pretty well; they’re pretty good. So that was a great opportunity to be able to say that we can contribute to prepare them for the Olympics.
TSD: For your work in the season, you got selected to Baseball America’s All-American second team, what does that award mean to you?
BJ: To be honest, I’m not really too worried about all that stuff. For me, I think if I do my thing, and my job throughout the team, then whatever accolades, whatever awards will just show up. I’m not really striving to get those awards, or any of those personal accolades and stuff like that. But I feel, as any player on any team should be, if you do what you should to help your team win, then those [accolades] will come with team success.
TSD: Now that the baseball team has proven you guys are serious and can be in the mix for the national championship, do you feel the stakes have been raised?
BJ: Yeah, I think with any team that makes it that far, you’re going to have a target on your back… I think it was actually a good thing that, this past season, everybody kind of put us at the bottom of the Pac-12. But now, it will be interesting having gone to Omaha and falling short there. It’s never really just your goal just to get there. Now we have guys on this team who are returning, who got there and [experienced] that devastation of losing that game and not being able to play one more game with your brothers.
This interview has been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.