November 21, 2012 EditionAlso in this issue...
Red Wolves sign JHS' Rainwater
(Editor's note: The following article is reprinted with permission from The Jonesboro Sun. Jon-David Rainwater is the son of Tom and Valerie Rainwater, both natives of Walnut Ridge. He is the grandson of Bob Rainwater of Walnut Ridge, the late Patty Rainwater, Charlotte Spikes of Pocahontas and the late Jonathan "Butch" Eskridge.)
Jonesboro's J.D. Rainwater received his first college baseball scholarship offer from Arkansas State at the beginning of last summer. The early offer proved to be an effective move for the Red Wolves.
Rainwater made it official Thursday as he honored the commitment he gave Arkansas State early in the summer by signing a letter of intent to continue his baseball career at ASU. After signing, Rainwater said he still couldn't quite believe he had accomplished one of his biggest goals growing up.
"This is just crazy. I can't even believe this day came. My family, coaches, teammates and friends have given me great support and it's just been a great day," Rainwater said.
After receiving his early offer from the Red Wolves, Rainwater committed and never wavered. Once he met with ASU coach Tommy Raffo, he was sold.
"That just settled it right there. He is an amazing person and a great guy. My family liked him and I liked him, and that just sold the deal," he said.
Proximity to home also helped Rainwater decide that ASU was the place for him.
"My family can come see me anytime they want and that was a big part of it. It seems like when I have my family there I always do better," he said.
As a junior Rainwater hit .354 with 26 RBIs and 30 runs scored. On the mound he posted a 9-1 record with a 1.74 ERA while striking out 75 batters in only 56 innings of work.
Jonesboro finished the season as the 6A-East conference champion with a 24-6 record. Rainwater (6-1, 238) was named to the 6A All-State baseball team and was also selected as the Best Under The Sun Player of the Year.
"We are very excited that J.D. has decided to continue his baseball career at ASU," Raffo said in an ASU press release. "He is a strong, power left-handed hitter that can play either corner infield position. He is coached by ASU baseball alumni and current Jonesboro High School coach Mark Dobson and joins former Red Wolves Murray Watts, Cody Pace, Jacob Lee, Cody Powell, Hunter Smith, Derrick Coleman and current Red Wolves player Moe Malugen, who were coached by Dobson and went to play at ASU."
Dobson said Rainwater is an extremely talented athlete on the field, while off the field he is well-liked by his classmates and coaches.
"The people who are standing here aren't just standing here to be at an event. They're standing here because they love him," Dobson said. Dobson said Rainwater is a great leader for the younger players on the Hurricane baseball team.
"He's a quiet leader. He leads through example; he's not an attention seeker," he said.
Also an outstanding football player, Rainwater is a three-year starter at center for Jonesboro, earning all-conference honors last year. Although there would have probably been opportunities to play football at the college level, Rainwater said he always desired to be a college baseball player and then take his shot professionally.
"My dream was to play Division 1 college baseball, so I'm living the dream," he said.
In high school, Rainwater plays third base and pitches, but in college he said he has been told that he will play first or third. With the Red Wolves coming off a deep run in the Sun Belt Conference baseball tournament, Rainwater said it's exciting to be joining a program on the way up.
"ASU is on the rise and I don't know if everybody sees it, but I definitely see it and I'm ready to be a part of it," he said.
With the college decision out of the way, Rainwater said he can turn his focus to the rest of his senior year and improving his game on the diamond.
"I'd like to improve my batting and just get more consistent at that, and as a team I think we could have a good year," he said.