BY STEVE KRAH
Jaylen Quarles welcomes new adventures in his life.
The Indianapolis native will soon experience new things and share his bat and ball knowledge on the other side of the globe.
“I’m ready to learn something different,” says Quarles, who holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in sports management from the University of Southern Indiana (2017 and 2019), where he played baseball. “I would love to learn a second language.”
The former Screaming Eagles outfielder/designated hitter will get a chance to pick up a Mandarin dialect spoken in Tianjin, China.
Quarles and best friend Andrew Moralez are scheduled to leave Monday morning (Sept. 15) from Indianapolis for Toronto and then on to China and a year as instructors for Dallas-based D-BAT Baseball & Softball Academies.
After a week of training in Beijing, Lawrence Central High School graduate Quarles and Bishop Chatard High School and Kentucky Wesleyan College grad Moralez will move about 70 miles southeast to the metropolis of Tianjin. With the help of translators, they will teach players ages 3 to 18.
“The contract is a full year,” says Quarles. “We get holidays off, but not enough time to come home.
“In the ninth or 10th month, we can negotiate for a second year.”
At 25, Moralez is also ready for adventure and getting himself experience toward his goal of coaching at the international level. He was recruited by D-BAT director of China Operations David Fisher and sent a resume and video montage.
“A lot of people don’t get to do this kind of stuff,” says Moralez. “I might as well take advantage of it.”
Quarles and Moralez have known each other since they were 9. Jaylen was playing for the Indiana Pony Express and Andrew, who moved to Indiana from Colorado at 6, the Westfield (Ind.) Indians. From 11 to 18, the two were summer mates with the Pony Express.
Jon Richardson was the leader of that travel organization.
“Jon was a really good influence on us when we were younger,” says Moralez, who later coached at 17U Pony Express team for Richardson. “He kept us accountable.
“I can’t being to explain how much he’s done for me and my career.”
Quarles is a 2012 graduate of Lawrence Central, where he lettered in baseball and football. He was honorable mention all-state, first team all-Conference Indiana and all-Marion County as a senior while hitting .463 with 20 runs batted in.
He was playing eighth grade football when coach Dan Roman fired a football into the air one day at practice and told Jaylen “make sure you call it.”
Roman, the head baseball coach at Lawrence Central at the time, knew that the youngster was familiar with the diamond.
But that was news to Quarles.
“I had no idea he knew I played baseball,” says Quarles. “I enjoyed playing for Dan Roman at LC.”
Besides the Pony Express, Quarles also played parts of two summers with Indianapolis RBI, playing in national tournaments in Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.
He went on to participate in two seasons of junior college baseball at Southeastern Illinois College. As a sophomore in 2014, the lefty-swinger hit .367 with 39 runs scored and team-best 26 RBIs.
After transferring to USI, Quarles played 33 games (22 starts) and hit .363 with 18 runs in 2015. After being a medical redshirt in 2016, he played 35 games (29 starts at designated hitter) in 2017 while hitting .310 with 14 runs and 14 RBIs.
Why degrees in sports management?
“Growing up all I wanted to do was play baseball,” says Quarles, who posted a 3.8 grade-point average on a 4.0 scale (in grad school). “I want to stay around the business.
“This is the type of job that I want. I’d eventually like to be a college coach at any level.”
Moralez was a three-year starter at Chatard, playing shortstop, second base, right field and pitching for Trojans head coach Mike Harmon. He was honorable all-Marion County in 2010.
What Moralez appreciates about Harmon is his ability to bring players together.
“He harped on family a lot with us,” says Moralez. “I look that into college and pro ball.”
“I wanted to want the team to be one and have good chemistry. I wanted to get everybody on board with one mission.”
The right-handed pitcher at Kentucky Wesleyan from 2013-16, making 39 mound appearances with nine victories for the Todd Lillpop-coached Panthers. He earned a degree in graphic design.
After college, Moralez took part in the California Winter League and then spring training with the independent Frontier League’s Evansville (Ind.) Otters in 2017.
Moralez landed with the Thoroughbred Mustangs of the independent Thoroughbred Baseball League in Lexington, Ky. With Scott Nathanson as manager, the Mustangs won the league championship.
Through BaseballJobsOverseas.com, Moralez was going to play in Austria when he developed bone spurs and instead stayed in the U.S. and took an office job.
While Moralez has been working in Indianapolis, Quarles has been living and working in the Evansville area. He got internship credit working for Kevin and Kate Brown at Kevin Brown Baseball & Softball School in Mount Vernon, Ind., and continued to give lessons and coach travel softball.
“I got really comfortable in Evansville,” says Quarles. “I gained and formed relationships.”
That includes USI head coach Tracy Archuleta, who he surprised recently by popping in at practice.
Quarles, 26, was offered the chance to join D-BAT in the spring through a Facebook message from former USI pitcher Dan Marcacci. But Jaylen was finishing his graduate degree and the softball season was about to begin.
“I had obligations,” says Quarles. “I’ve been all-in with these girls. I can’t leave them hanging.”
Fast forward to this week and Quarles has been in Indianapolis making preparations to travel to China, including getting shots and squaring away paperwork.
Jaylen is the son of Leonza and Crystle Quarles. He has a sister, Jazzemine.
Andrew is the youngest of Oscar and Julie Moralez. Jesse Moralez is the older brother.
Andrew Moralez, a graduate of Bishop Chatard High School in Indianapolis and Kentucky Wesleyan College, delivers a 2017 pitch for the independent Thoroughbred Mustangs in Lexington, Ky. He will soon be teaching baseball in China with best friend Jaylen Quarles. They played travel ball together on the Pony Express. (Thoroughbred Baseball League Photo)
Indianapolis native Jaylen Quarles bats for the University of Southern Indiana. The 2012 Lawrence Central High School graduate will soon be teaching baseball in China with best friend Andrew Moralez. They played travel ball together on the Pony Express. (University of Southern Indiana Photo)
Andrew Moralez fires a pitch for Kentucky Wesleyan College. On this day, he hit the radar gun at 94 mph. The KWC and Bishop Chatard High School graduate will soon be teaching baseball in China with best friend Jaylen Quarles. (Kentucky Wesleyan College Photo)
Jaylen Quarles prepares for the pitch while playing for the University of Southern Indiana. The USI and Lawrence Central High school graduate will soon be teaching baseball in China with best friend Andrew Moralez. (University of Southern Indiana)
At Kentucky Wesleyan College baseball senior day in 2017, Andrew Moralez is surrounded by his family. From left, there’s big brother Jesse Moralez, mother Juile Moralez and father Oscar Moralez.
Crystle and Leonza Quarles share a moment with son Jaylen Quarles during the latter’s baseball-playing days at the University of Southern Indiana.
Andrew Moralez played baseball at Kentucky Wesleyan College and will soon be teaching the game in China with best friend Jaylen Quarles. He is a graduate of Bishop Chatard High School in Indianapolis (Kentucky Wesleyan University Photo)
Jaylen Quarles played baseball at the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville and will soon be teaching the game in China with best friend Andrew Moralez. He is a graduate of Lawrence Central High School in Indianapolis. (University of Southern Indiana Photo)