Translated from Japanese, Kazuya Jordan’s first name means “peaceful” or “calm one.” But the Stafford freshman saw his composure strained in the ninth inning of the Region 5D championship game against Halifax on May 30.
Jordan led off with a single, coolly advanced to third on a hit and scored the winning run in the extra-inning victory. If there were any nerves, Stafford coach Tommy Harrison couldn’t detect them.
“Big-time situation and he looked like he’d been there for four years,” Harrison said. “I’m not sure if he’s just so young he didn’t understand yet? If you’re not nervous, something’s wrong with you.”
Youth hasn’t been wasted on Jordan, who will start at second base when the otherwise-experienced Indians (24–2) face Hickory in a Class 5 state semifinal at 10 a.m. Thursday at Glen Allen High School.
Harrison isn’t big on keeping freshmen. He’d rather see an underclassman play every day on JV rather than languish in a varsity dugout.
At 5-foot-6 and swinging a 31-inch bat at age 15, Jordan isn’t the sort of physical specimen who might merit a flier on measureables alone.
“I’m not going to lie,” senior Mike Tolson said. “I didn’t notice him at all at tryouts.”
Jordan, too, assumed he’d be overlooked and placed on JV. But with senior Robbie Baker moving to third base, the Indians had a hole at second and Harrison thought that, just maybe, Jordan could fill it.
“I liked the way he handled himself in the middle of the field,” Harrison said. “He’s got some of the best hands and feet I’ve seen in the middle.”
Jordan’s transition from the 14U Stafford Senators to high school ball wasn’t instantaneous. Whenever confidence issues crept in, he fed off the energy emanating from senior leaders like Tolson.
“In the beginning of the season I was kind of nervous and overwhelmed a bit,” Jordan said. “But I got used to it. Now, everyone’s calm and it makes me calm.”
With a .204 batting average, Jordan doesn’t prompt outfielders to backpedal when he steps to the plate. But what he lacks in power, he makes up for with a purposeful approach to hitting.
“Your job is to get on any way you can,” Harrison told Jordan, who bats ninth in Stafford’s order. “Get hit by a pitch—which he has. If it’s ‘hit a ground ball to second,’ he’s been able to do that. Really, that’s a team concept.”
If Jordan remains a project offensively, he’s already realized his potential at second base with six double plays and a .910 fielding percentage. From robbing base hits to ranging deep into foul territory for diving grabs, Jordan is gloving it up well beyond his years.
“He’s making these plays that he really has no business making,” Tolson said.
In the dugout, “Kaz” is something of a comedian. He works in vocal impressions and boasts an impressive catalog of his teammates’ voices.
But he no longer needs to impersonate a varsity baseball player. Hasn’t for a while now.
“Classification-wise he’s a freshman,” said Harrison, “but after 25 games you’re not a freshman anymore.”