Jeannette grad Ault learns new position in summer baseball league
Like many college baseball players, Jordan Ault is playing summer baseball as a way to accumulate at-bats and improve his skills.
This year, however, summer baseball is taking on added importance for Ault as he's also gaining experience at a new position: catcher.
Ault, a Jeannette graduate, recently completed his junior year Bethany College, an NCAA Division III program.
Primarily a reserve infielder with the Bisons last year, Ault started 10 games and had five hits in 27 at-bats. As he enters his senior season, he has his eyes on a more prominent role: being an every day starter.
Ault believes that catcher is his best chance to reach that goal and he approached the Bethany coaching staff with the idea of a position change.
“It was my idea,” he said. “I went to the coaches, and they went for it . . . at catcher, you're more mentally in the game, and that's me.”
He played catcher here and there as a youngster, but if he's going to grab that position at Bethany next year, Ault knew he needed to log some innings behind the plate this summer.
That led him the McKeesport Daily News League — a prominent local summer baseball league composed primarily of college players — where he is a member of the Steel Towne Inn team.
Not only is he on the team, he's one of Steel Towne Inn's best players. Ault has a .348 batting average, seven runs scored, 16 hits and a team-high 13 RBIs, playing some infield but mostly catching.
He's also pitched 17 innings, allowing just five earned runs.
“He's one of our better guys on the team,” said Ryan Alm, the team's manager. “He can play middle infield, he can catch, he can pitch. He's the kind of guy we can bat two, three or four because he can hit.”
Alm said Ault is adapting well to the catching position.
“He's fitting in really well as a catcher,” he said. “He looks good back there. He's a natural at blocking balls, throwing to second, calling pitches.
“He's doing as good of a job as anyone could expect.”
Additionally, Ault also brings intangibles to the team, said Alm.
“He's basically high motor kind of guy, always hustling between the lines and off the field,” said the manager. “He fits right in with all of our guys, soon as he came in, he became friends with everyone.”
Ault said he is in enjoying the experience.
“I joined because I wanted to play in the summer,” he said. “ It's a competitive league. It's more competitive than I thought it would be.”
While his long-term focus is his senior season at Bethany, the competitiveness in him has Ault focused entirely on the Daily News League right now. Steel Towne Inn entered the week 9-8 and in playoff contention.
“Our team is focused on winning these last few ball games, getting into the playoffs and doing something in the playoffs.”
Brian Knavish is a freelance writer.