Titans 18U Pitcher Jayden Bailey Commits to NCAA Division 1 Eastern Michigan University Eagles
The Titans Baseball Club opened September with a historically-important announcement pertaining to one of its three T12 Showcase participants. Not only has 18U Pitcher Jayden Bailey been selected to compete in the most prestigious tournament for Canadian amateur baseball players at the Rogers Centre later this month, but he has also committed to the NCAA D1 Eastern Michigan University Eagles for 2024-25. On Tuesday, Bailey signed his letter of intent to attend the second oldest public university in Michigan and to compete for an Eagles baseball team that plays in one of the most competitive D1 conferences. The left-handed Titans starter became the first graduating player from the Titans’ Class of 2024 to commit to a US College. In addition to this Early Period commitment, Bailey became the first Titan in the three-year history of the franchise to sign a letter of intent to an NCAA Division 1 baseball program.
Titans College Placement Officer and 15U Coach Denis Bailey acknowledged the significance of this early 2024 D1 college placement for the Titans baseball program: “It’s huge for us. It shows we’ve put in hard work as an organization from 14U to 18U to develop our student-athletes. This is our end goal and we’re going in the right direction.”
Coach Bailey is also convinced that Jayden Bailey has “the right stuff”—all the requisite skills and attitude-- to ride through the rigors and navigate the sometimes choppy waters of Division 1 Baseball: “His stuff plays well at the next level. Jayden has a great three-pitch mix. He also has a great work ethic and never misses a practice even though he lives two hours from the facility and our home ballpark. He’s ready for the next step because he’s an intelligent young man with excellent mental fortitude.”
Titans Director of Baseball Operations Lawrence Vera echoed his colleague’s assessment and welcomed Bailey back to the fold: “It's amazing to have Jayden back home after a few years away. Since re-joining us, Jayden and Denis have been working hard at achieving his goals. We always knew Jayden would be a D1 NCAA athlete and we are excited that Jayden will go down in club history as our first D1 NCAA Titan. Best of luck, Jayden.”
Bailey, who hails from Collingwood, Ontario, chose the 174-year old university and its baseball program in Ypsilanti, Michigan for many reasons: “Eastern Michigan was a school that has been on my radar for a while now. There are many factors to why I made this choice, but a big reason would have to be the projectability of the program. They play in a very competitive conference and with the new management in the program, the possibilities seemed endless. I visited their campus recently and everything about the school seemed perfect for me. I was guided through the campus and the baseball program by Coach Beerman and Coach Prince and they were incredibly friendly. They made me feel super comfortable and they seemed very knowledgeable as well. I also had the opportunity to talk to Head Coach Britt. While what he was saying about his coaching experience with baseball was impressive, what really impressed me was the way he talked about family and becoming a better man, which are both incredibly important to me.”
In addition to these vitally-important core values and the impressive quality of the Eagles coaching staff, Bailey also noted some of the things he’s looking forward to the most about Ypsilanti, Michigan: “The thing I am most excited about living in Ypsilanti would have to be the change in the atmosphere. I am from Collingwood, Ontario, which is a pretty small town. I want to be able to explore something a little different from what I am used to. Also because I live in such a small town, there are no high level baseball teams near me which means I have to drive 2 hours or more 3-4 times a week. Now that I will be living on campus, I will no longer have to drive all that distance.”
The Honor Roll graduate of Collingwood Collegiate Institute is also looking forward to his major area of study at Eastern Michigan University: “I would like to focus my studies in the kinesiology field. I have always thought it was super important to know about the body to help prevent injuries I may experience in the future. The more I learned about kinesiology, the more intrigued I was about having a career in it.”
Bailey, who will take a gap year in 2023-24 and prepare for his final CPBL season with the 18U Titans, outlined his athletic and academic goals as a student-athlete at Eastern Michigan University: “Of course, my biggest athletic goal would be to get drafted into the MLB. It is something I have dreamt about since I was only 7 years old. It won't be easy, but I know that I am willing to work as hard as I can to possibly achieve my dream. On the academic side, I want to get a degree somewhere in the medical field, preferably kinesiology. I still have yet to figure out what I want to do as a career beyond baseball, but I definitely know I want to get into the medical field.”
While Bailey looked ahead to prospective academic and baseball fields that are on the horizon, he also expressed his gratitude to the Titans Baseball Club for assisting him with his college baseball placement: “Coach Bailey really made this process for me incredibly easy. He walked me through every step at my pace and did everything he could for me. The most stressful thing during this process was having to talk to coaches over the phone, so he would hop on every single call and help me discuss scholarships, housing situations, and other things I would not have known to ask as an international student. Any time I have a question about anything, he is available to help me. Jim Stewart also played a significant role in my college placement on the academic side. I joined the program in Grade 10 and at the time I was struggling with my grades. He would help me with my essays or whatever I needed help with and encouraged me to continue to work hard not only on the field, but also in the classroom. Since then, I have been on the Honor Roll every year.”
When asked to select a highlight during his career as a Titan, Bailey discussed his own development within the program: “The highlight of my career as a Titan isn't a singular moment or even anything related to baseball. When I joined the program, I was a very shy and insecure kid. I always believed that everyone secretly didn’t like me and it made me a shell of myself. Playing with the Titans really helped me get out of this mindset and I finally was able to step out of my comfort zone. That year, I made friends I will have for a long time and I unlocked so much confidence I never knew I had. The Titans Baseball Club pride themselves on being a family and this family atmosphere helped me in so many different ways.”
In closing our interview, Bailey offered familial advice to the younger players in the program about achieving their post-secondary goals as a student-athlete: “My one piece of advice is to always try your hardest--whether that is on the field, in the weight room, in the classroom, or creating relationships with your peers. If you think about it, only 1 percent of people get to go on and play Division 1 baseball. You are in competition with tens of thousands of kids who are just like you and have the same dreams you do. If you have that obsession and you are putting in the work, you will be rewarded.”
The Titans Baseball Club congratulates Jayden Bailey-- our first player from the Class of 2024 to commit to a US College and our first player in our three-year history to commit to an NCAA Division 1 program. We look forward to Jayden’s leadership on and off the field in his final season pitching in the CPBL for the 18U Titans and we wish him all the best in his first season with the Eastern Michigan Eagles starting in September 2024.