Aspen High’s Jamison Fuentes signs with Division II Adams State for baseball | AspenTimes.com

Aspen High’s Jamison Fuentes signs with Division II Adams State for baseball

Jamison Fuentes had other offers, notably from the junior college ranks, but none of those schools had a coach pursue him like Jim Capra of Adams State University. The Grizzlies soon-to-be sixth-year skipper had long sought the addition of Aspen High School's standout pitcher, a chase that ended Wednesday when Fuentes signed his National Letter of Intent to play baseball in Alamosa.

"To finally have that opportunity to move on and be able to continue my baseball career is something I've been working for my whole life," the AHS senior said. "The coach is mainly the big factor of it. He's been following me for a couple of years and he's always reaching out and seeing my interest."

Fuentes, a left-handed pitcher and outfielder, was an honorable mention all-state selection for Class 3A as a junior in the spring. He went 4-6 in 14 appearances on the mound for the Skiers, finishing with a 2.69 ERA. He batted .316 with a team-high 19 RBIs.

"His desire to really go out and challenge batters and really go and give it his best effort every time out there," Dave Fuentes said about what sets his son apart. "I'm really proud of him and the work he has put in. He's done a lot of extra work to get himself to that point. It's good to see that pay off."

On top of playing dad, Dave Fuentes also is the head coach for the AHS baseball team. After going 12-8 in 2009, the Skiers have essentially been in rebuilding mode ever since, including back-to-back two-win seasons in 2014 and 2015, the latter of which was Dave Fuentes' first season in charge and Jamison's freshman year.

Led by the current senior class and Jamison Fuentes, Aspen won seven games in 2017, the most since winning eight in 2010. With nearly the entire team expected back this spring and Fuentes returning to the mound, the script is set to provide the younger Fuentes with a memorable farewell.

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"I can't do it without the work of my teammates or my coaches or even my family, the people who have pushed me to be my best," Jamison said. "I feel like this year is going to be our year."

When Fuentes gets to Adams State, he'll join a program that has also been slowly building over the years. Capra is one of the most decorated high school coaches in the state's history. He was the coach at Arvada West High School from 1987 to 2012, recording more than 350 wins and a state championship. Among his star players at Arvada West was two-time Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay, who recently died in a plane crash off the coast of Florida.

Capra took over at Adams State, his alma mater, in 2012. The baseball program had been dormant since the late 1970s until Capra's arrival. The NCAA Division II team plays out of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.

"It's a good place for him," Dave Fuentes said. "The school is a good academic fit for him because it's a smaller school. It's far enough away you can't necessarily get home every weekend, but it's a good time to be far enough out and experience college. And it's got a great sports program all the way through in the RMAC."

Among the most recent Aspen signees to Adams State was 2017 graduate Sunday Abarca, a track and field standout who was a three-time 3A state champion in the 400-meter dash.

acolbert@aspentimes.com