SPRINGDALE – On April 11, Charles Herbert Flowers High School held its annual spring signing day ceremony honoring the student-athletes on the Jaguars baseball team.
This year, Flowers recognized four players who committed to playing baseball at the next level in college including Chardale Folks, Jaden Pinkney, James Toney and Zach Alston.
When Folks was around 6-years-old, his brother envisioned him playing baseball in the future. If not for his brother’s sentiment, Folks would have never experienced Flowers defeating Bowie High School for the first time in school history. That was when he realized the true meaning of brotherhood, which led him into being a successful student-athlete.
Folks amassed a batting average of .376 with 52 hits, five home runs, 55 RBI, 69 runs and 44 stolen bases in his four-year varsity career. Now 12 years later, Folks has decided to extend his baseball playing career in the Fall at Wheeling Jesuit University.
“I chose Wheeling Jesuit University because I felt that it was best fit for me,” Folks said. “The small campus and classes are good, and I feel as though it would help keep me focused.
“My main goals while I’m there are to receive a degree in Exercise Science, win a championship with the baseball team and to improve as a player and a person. I’m there for a purpose.”
According to Flowers Head Coach Ray Brown, Folks is a “solid student-athlete with great character and is also a jokester that a team can rally around.”
Since the age of five, with the help of his father, Pinkney found his first love in baseball. That passion led him to be named the ‘Most Improved Player’ in the Flowers program and landed him a spot on the varsity team his sophomore year. Pinkney boasted a batting average of .315 AVG and tallied 17hits, 27 RBI, 31 runs and accounted for 16 stolen bases. He has decided to take his talents to Lancaster Bible College.
“I chose Lancaster Bible College over other schools because when I stepped on campus, it felt like I was at home and everyone was friendly,” Pinkney said. “While there, I hope to accomplish a 3.5 accumulative grade point average (GPA) and be selected to the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) All-Conference team.”
Pinkney came into Flowers with the mindset of being an infielder.
“Although he was very athletic, his skill set warranted a position change to the outfield,” Brown said. “He worked very hard to become the best outfielder he could be, and now it has paid off.”
At a young age, Toney had a circle of friends that watched him play baseball that prompted him to take a swing at playing the game. Toney went from watching his friends from the bleachers to hitting a grand slam his sophomore year. Toney currently has a batting average of .250 at the dish.
Toney has determined that he will stay local and attend Prince George’s Community College (PGCC).
“I chose PGCC because it was close to home and it’s a great place for me to develop as a person and player,””Toney said. “I felt it was a good match for me to start my college baseball career with great coaches and players. I hope that PGCC makes me a better player and student.”
Brown noticed a change in Toney right before his junior year as he saw him get in better shape and was motivated to make the varsity team.
“James keeps a joyful spirit toward his teammates and keeps the energy positive on the team,” Brown said. “Once he showed his pitching abilities, he has become one of our five starters.”
Just like the others, Alston was swayed to play baseball by following in his brothers footsteps when he was younger and wanted to step out on the mound himself. So far, Alston has a .417 batting average and accumulated five wins, four saves, 22 strikeouts and has 1.54 ERA as a pitcher. Alston will be pitching for Montgomery College shortly.
“I chose Montgomery College because of the great program itself and to develop myself as a player into proceeding my journey,” Alston said. “While there I want to win the World Series tournament and to increase my velocity by 15 mph on my pitches. I also want to get my degree in Architecture Auto CAD.”
Brown is proud of the student and athlete Alston has become while he attended Flowers.
“Zach has pursued his dream of being a college baseball player, more specifically a pitcher,” Brown said. “He has worked hard on his craft as well as a top student. It fills my heart to have seen his growth and for him to move forward on his dream of going to college and to continue to play baseball.”