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Washington Nationals’ prospect Jackson Coutts makes most of debut with Low-A Fredericksburg...

Signed as non-drafted free agent last year, Jackson Coutts made first pro appearance in first win for the minor league team …

Photo © and courtesy Michael Scott via Media Relations at the University of Rhode Island

WASHINGTON - Jackson Coutts waited nearly a year to make his pro debut, after he was signed by the Washington Nationals as a free agent on June, 15, 2020 after a college career at the University of Rhode Island.

Coutts, 22 and a first baseman, was in spring training with minor league players in Florida, then was assigned to Fredericksburg on May 20.

His first pro game turned out to be the first win of the season on May 21 for Fredericksburg, which lost its first 15 contests.

“It has been awesome. It was special after not playing for so long to get back out there,” Coutts told Federal Baseball after getting some treatment before Saturday’s game.

“I watched pretty much every game. Being there for the first win in front of the home crowd was incredible, I can’t really put it into words. Everyone was on their feet in the ninth inning. It happened on a Firework Friday and that made it even better,” he added.

He said this season has been different than what was described by other minor leaguers that he talked to before beginning his pro career.

Some of that has to do with the changes in the schedule brought on by the pandemic.

“It is a little different. They traveled a lot more” in the past, he said. “It has been a good adjustment. I really enjoy how things go around here.”

Coutts is living with three teammates in an apartment near the stadium in Fredericksburg.

The team has off on Mondays and generally plays a series at one location from Tuesday through Sunday.

The first minor league stadium he played in was in college at Richmond at the home of VCU and also the Flying Squirrels, a Double-A team in the Giants’ farm system that plays at The Diamond.

In games through Saturday, Coutts was batting .171 in his first nine games at the low Single-A level.

He hit .451 with four homers in just 51 at-bats for Rhode Island in 2020 and had an average of .302 in three seasons with the Rams.

Now he is facing better pitchers.

“They throw pretty hard compared to what I saw in college,” he said of Single-A pitchers. “I am still trying to make adjustments on the fly with my first year of playing pro ball. I am super thankful to be here. It is definitely a good challenge and I love a good challenge.”

Fredericksburg fell to 7-22 with a 7-3 loss at home Saturday to the Delmarva Shorebirds, a farm team of the Orioles.

Coutts has had to deal with protocol in the minors as well.

“You have to wear a mask when you are not playing,” he said. “We have self-screening every morning. We get our temperature taken when we get to the field.”

Both of his parents are in college athletics: his mother, Lynn, is an administrator at Denver and his father, Mike, is the head softball coach at the University of Maine in his home state. His mother is a former Maine softball coach.

Coutts has been keeping an eye on the softball team at James Madison of Harrisonburg, Va., as the Dukes advanced to the College World Series for the first time.

“College softball is pretty awesome, college sports in general are pretty great,” he said.