Grand Junction Rockies pitcher Alex Haynes was already familiar with Sam Suplizio field before the Grand Junction Rockies season started.
For the last two years, Haynes was pitching for the Junior College powerhouse, Walters State.
The Senators made it to the JUCO World Series the past two seasons and even were the No. 1 team in the country in 2018, ending as the national runner-ups.
Playing on Grand Junction’s biggest stage, Haynes thinks it’s crazy to be back in the Valley.
“That’s what I was telling my family, being down here twice and being in the environment. I love it,” Haynes said.
Alex was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 15th round of the 2019 draft, and couldn’t be happier to have his pro career start on the WesternSlope.
“I was like, ‘Man, being drafted by the Rockies would be a dream come true. Sure enough we got the phone call and it happened to be the Rockies. So, it was a special moment,” Haynes said.
That phone call came when Alex and his girlfriend were at a movie theater in the middle of a movie, but was so happy to hear the news they left to tell their families.
During his two year career at Walter’s State Alex started in 19 games, threw 116.1 innings, only gave up 33 earned runs, struck out 168 batters with a 2.50 ERA.
“Haynes has a really good fastball, and when he slows the game down, he’s really good,” GJ Rockies manager Jake Opitz said.
In his four games in pro ball, Haynes is off to a solid start. His second outing of the season was rough giving up seven runs in 1.1 innings. Other than that he has been great striking out 18 in nine innings, only giving up two earned runs.
“The main thing for him is slowing things down, keeping his breath and not letting a couple base runners get on, speed him up,” Opitz added. “Really good arm, and a lot of potential there.”
Haynes loves playing the sport he loves everyday, but he’s also excited about the environment and the weather here in Grand Junction.
“Compared to Tennessee it’s very humid,” Haynes said. “I remember after the world series, I went home and walked my dog and I was just dripping sweat just walking my dog and I was like, ‘Gosh, I miss Colorado.”