Published On: February 11th, 2012

Wisconsin Rapids, WI – The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters announced the addition of two power threats to their lineup for the upcoming season by adding utility infielder Austin Neary (Western Carolina) and first baseman Aaron Jones (Winston-Salem State). 

“Austin Neary is a utility guy with a lot of upside.  He can play a lot of positions in the field and has tremendous pop in his bat,” said field manager Jake Martin.  “Aaron Jones is another player that will provide power to our lineup while playing tremendous defense in the field.  His past summer baseball experience will be a nice benefit to our lineup this summer.”

IF-Austin Neary, 6’3”, 215 lbs (R/R) Freshman, Western Carolina [pictured left]

Austin Neary will begin his freshman season at Western Carolina University this spring after a decorated high school career.  The utility infielder was named the Maryland Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year in 2011 as a senior after batting .585 with 6 home runs, 34 RBI and 31 runs scored.  Neary struck out only three times in 78 plate appearances last year.  The Maryland Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year award recognizes outstanding athletic excellence as well as high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field.

During his junior and senior year, Neary was also named an All-State third baseman while attending Archbishop Spalding High School.  He helped lead the Cavaliers to a 22-5 record and the 2011 MIAA Conference Championship his senior year.  During his high school playing career, Neary amassed 49 doubles, 16 triples, 23 home runs, while driving in 112 runs over three seasons.  He was also a three-time, first-team All-County selection while posting a .510 batting average over his prep tenure.  Neary is a native of Crofton, Maryland.

1B-Aaron Jones, 6’2”, 215 lbs (L/L) Redshirt Junior, Winston-Salem State [right]

Aaron Jones will begin his junior season at Winston-Salem State University this spring after competing at Lenoir Community College in 2010 and redshirting during the 2011 spring season.  Jones was named a Rawlings Region Ten Defensive National Player of the Year Award Finalist and 1st Team All-Conference after batting .404 with 10 doubles, 34 runs, and 27 RBIs in his one season at Lenoir Community College.  Jones attended UNC-Wilmington and appeared in 16 games during his freshman year.

Jones is no stranger to summer baseball, having played two years in the Carolina-Virginia Collegiate Summer League where he led the entire league in batting average at .431 in 2010.  He was the team leader in doubles (12), walks (12) and on-base percentage (.438) during the 2011 summer campaign.

Jones attended Gospel Light Christian High School where he batted .477 while posting an 8-3 pitching record with 83 strikeouts as a senior.  He was a two-time All-State performer while also earning MVP honors his senior year.  Jones is a native of Kernersville, North Carolina.

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