Stone Exemplifies Talent Plus Experience

Jae Yoo

Riverside Community College’s loss may very well turn out to be GCC baseball’s ticket to the state conference in Fresno.

Sophomore Jimmy Stone, 20, left RCC for personal reasons after helping take that team to the state championships last year. He’s now considered one of the most valuable assets for the Vaqueros.

“Our goal is to go to Fresno,” said the shortstop. “That’s where the state championships are.”

Stone brings to the table a rare blend of natural talent and skills on the diamond that go back to a love of baseball starting when he was just 2 years old.

According to first-year Coach Jon Strauss, Stone’s speed makes him a great base-stealer; his ability to handle the bat makes him an effective base-hitter; and his good hands and arms make him a reliable shortstop. In addition, Stone brings baseball instincts that no coach can teach.

“Stone is an intelligent player,” said Strauss. “He knows how to play the game and make adjustments. He’s a really gifted player.”

If his .515 batting average and First Team All-league Honors his senior year at Pasadena High aren’t proof of his all-around game, try his title as Pacific League MVP in 1999.

“I can look to Jimmy [Stone] because he’s won the state championship,” said Strauss. “We’re lucky to have him in that respect.”

So far, 31 games into the season, Strauss’ squad has in its bag an early season 12-game winning streak, a current first-place ranking in the Western State Conference, and a fifth place ranking in Southern California among junior colleges.

“My goal is to be a factor,” said Stone, whose favorite pro is star Nomar Garciaparra of the Boston Red Sox. “I want to be a contributor on the team.”

While working for his team’s success, he is clearly focused on the future.

Stone’s uncles Brad and Wayne Stone play for the Brewers and Angels respectively, and he hopes genes may work in his favor. If being “close with [his] family” is any indication of his future, his chances of playing in the majors are very good.

“He’s definitely [Division One] material,” said Strauss. “One day he’ll have potential to play professional baseball.”

His immediate goal is to go on to play at Cal State Northridge or Chico, where he will major in Liberal Arts.

In preparation for his games, like many athletes, Stone goes through a ritual. He tapes both of his wrists.

He also draws a “C” in the dirt for “championships.”