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Son of Nationals’ scout drafted by Mariners

Nick Zona, who grew up in the Richmond area, will begin his pro career with Seattle after playing at JMU …

Photo © and courtesy JMU Athletics - Nick Zona, the son of Washington scout Jeff, was drafted in the 20th round by Seattle earlier this month.

WASHINGTON – Nick Zona was drafted out of his Richmond-area high school and then had to wait four years for his name to be called again.

Zona is the son of Jeff Zona, a long-time scout for the Nationals and a former minor league pitcher for the Braves in the late 1980s.

The younger Zona was taken in the 20th round of the Major League draft this year by Seattle.

He has spent the past four years as an infielder for James Madison University in Virginia and played in the summer for the Harrisonburg Turks in the Valley Baseball League while in college.

He has been an intern this summer for the Turks while resting his body after the Division I season with JMU, a former member of the Colonial Athletic

“Feels great to be part of the Seattle organization,” Nick Zona wrote to Federal Baseball.

“Ready to get to work.”

Zona reported to the Spring Training home of the Mariners in Arizona on Friday, and started working out. He was drafted in the 38th round by the New York Mets in 2018.

He hit .282 this past season for JMU.

“I would be interested in him (as a draft pick) even if he wasn’t my son,” the elder Zona once said of the JMU product.

The younger Zona went to Hanover High, a solid program north of Richmond.

Hanover won a state title this spring and had two players taken in the draft.

His brothers are both involved in baseball.

His brother, Anthony, is a member of the coaching staff at the University of Charleston in West Virginia – where he pitched.

Another brother, Jeff, Jr., is a scout for the Phillies.

Seattle already had several JMU and Virginia ties.

Rob Mummau, a former infielder for the Dukes, has been a scout for the Mariners for several years.

Seattle catcher Cal Raleigh is the son of Todd Raleigh, a former assistant baseball coach at JMU.

Norfolk native Justin Upton was playing for the Mariners earlier this year before he elected to become a free agent on Friday.

Jerry Dipoto, the president of baseball operations for Seattle, is a former pitcher at VCU in Richmond.