In a hall outside the gym at Mesquite Poteet is a display case unique to every other trophy holder in the corridor. The contents of the case are keepsakes and photos of the school's favorite son, former major-leaguer Jason Jennings.
This past April, Jennings popped out of the memories of Poteet fans and reappeared on the mound at Copeland Field on Poteet's campus to pitch in simulated games in practice for the Pirates.
Jennings found himself without a job this offseason after another pitching-arm injury ended his AAA stint in the Oakland Athletics organization. He was in need of a personal spring training while his agent made phone calls to try and land Jennings a job.
"I was just trying to stay in shape and they were still playing, so I went out once an week and threw three or four innings in intrasquad games to them," Jennings said. "It helped them out to give them some live pitching and it helped me out to throw to some hitters. It was good to go back."
Jennings said he continued to follow Poteet's run to the state semifinals where the Pirates were knocked out in a 10-inning thriller by Corpus Christi Calallen 6-5. He was especially interested in Poteet catcher Beau Nowell, the son of his high school coach Teddy Nowell, who Jennings knew as a young child during his playing days at Poteet.
Jennings is now employed as the ace of the non-affiliated Grand Prairie AirHogs where he is working to rediscover the pitcher he was before he was brought down by injury. He said his philosophy with the AirHogs is to "pitch until they rip the jersey off of him" in hopes of getting a second chance in affiliated ball. Click Here for the complete Jennings story.
Not only does Jennings believe he still has the stuff in him to pitch at the Major League level, so does former Poteet coach Nowell who believes the experience he's gained over the years will make up for any lost velocity on his fastball.
"I think he's still got a lot of baseball left in him just because he knows how to pitch," Nowell said.