There was a lot of cheering going on in B.C. when Jared Young got his first Major League Baseball hit during his debut with the Chicago Cubs on Friday, and some of it was coming from Kelowna.
That’s because Young, who is from Prince George, played here for two years while attending Kelowna Secondary School.
Evan Bailey was his coach with the Okanagan Athletics for the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
“Jared moved here from Prince George to come play and right from the moment I saw him play, Jared could always, always hit. I mean, he was a pure hitter,” said Bailey.
He was texting with Jared on the day he got called up to the Cubs.
"What an honour for Jared and his family. I told him how deserving he is, and how proud we are of him. It could not have happened to a better person. A great day for our organization as well to be able to say we now have a former Okanagan Athletic in the MLB," said Bailey.
Young is one of the first players from a Kelowna team to go on to a career in MLB. Pitcher Paul Spoljaric played for the Blue Jays in the 90s and hails from Kelowna.
“Such a down-to-earth, amazing kid. Worked really, really hard. Just kept his head down and kept working.
“I don’t think in high school he got the recognition that he should have and he just always kept working and kept hitting and he turned out to be an amazing player.”
He notes that Jared attended three different universities and has had a long road to get to the Cubs dugout.
“I remember telling his dad back in, I think it was 2014 or 2015, I remember telling him I wouldn’t be surprised if Jared becomes a professional player one day. Because he was just a little further ahead than everyone else,” he adds.
Bailey explains that Young played here to have exposure to a more competitive league than in his hometown. The Athletics are the only Okanagan team in the British Columbia Premier Baseball League.
Jared Young was 0-3 at bat on Friday against the Colorado Rockies, when he hit a double in the seventh inning, to help the Cubs to a 2-1 victory.