Q&A with Arkansas State Commit: RHP Noah Stone (Lutheran South, 2017)

Shon Plack
Missouri Scouting Director

Noah Stone (Lutheran South, 2017) is a 6-foot-7 right-handed pitcher and has chosen to play college baseball at Arkansas State. 

Stone attended the Winter's Pitcher's Showcase in February.  There he showed an aggressive delivery with a three-quarters arm slot and fast arm with the body staying under control throughout the delivery. He has a sinking fastball at 86-89 mph, and throws for strikes. Stone showed feel for a tight slider at 78-81 mph, which could could be plus pitch as he continues to develop. His change-up is at 82-85 mph with arm side running action.

Currently, the Lancers are ranked #4 in Class 4.  Stone is 2-0 on the season with a 2.33 ERA with 21 strikeouts and just five walks in 12 innings pitched.  Lutheran South is 8-2 on the season.

Here is a look inside the recruitment of Noah Stone.

PBR: What were your expectations about the recruiting process? Was it as expected? Easy/Difficult?

Stone: I knew that the recruiting process would be challenging, exciting, and somewhat stressful but in the end, it actually went better than expected.  The best advice that I received from one of my coaches was to first find schools that were a good fit in terms of academics, location, school size, etc. and then once those boxes were checked, determine whether those baseball programs were also a good fit.  I believe that doing my due diligence on various schools before considering their baseball programs helped me streamline the process and made my ultimate decision that much easier.  After I narrowed my list to approximately 10 schools, I sent those schools my PBR video and prayed that the emails or phone calls would come.  I was very fortunate and am thankful that several coaches caught on to me fairly quickly and expressed their interest.               

PBR: Did location or distance from home play a factor in your decision?

Stone: Absolutely.  I wanted to stay within 4-5 hours from home.  I have a close relationship with my family and I am the oldest of all the cousins/grandchildren.  My family is very important to me and I wanted them to be able to come and see me pitch.     

PBR: Where did Arkansas State first see you? How did your relationship develop with them?

I sent my PBR video to Arkansas State and within 30 minutes, Coach Longshore (Arkansas State’s head pitching coach) responded to my email and expressed his interest.  We had a nice telephone conversation that same day and he made plans to come to St. Louis that very next week and see me pitch.  Coach Longshore’s willingness and enthusiasm to make the trip on such short notice meant a lot to me (I also thought his Southern accent was pretty cool).  I must have been pretty excited as well since Coach Longshore saw me hit 90 for the very first time.  After the game, I had another positive conversation with Coach Longshore.  What really struck me about that conversation was that Coach Longshore wanted to know more about me as a person (not just as a baseball player) and also wanted to speak with my parents because he understood that this was a family decision.  Coach Longshore spoke with my dad that night and then we had a conference call with the entire family a couple days later and that is when he made me an offer to join the “Wolf Pack” at Arkansas State. 

PBR: Who is the best player you have faced in your state, and why?

That’s a really tough question to answer.  I’ve faced so many great players over the years and every batter I face creates a new and different challenge.  If I had to choose, I would say that the best player I have faced is actually one of my teammates – Sam Lombard.  Fortunately, however, I only have to face the “Big Fella” during scrimmages.  Sam has a strong presence at the plate, a smooth swing that generates tremendous power, impressive plate discipline, and he doesn’t provide you with much margin for error.       

PBR: What advice would you give to young baseball players striving to get where you are?

Stone: Talent only gets you so far but a strong work ethic gets you where you want to be.  Young baseball players mature and develop at different ages but the players that have the greatest likelihood of continued success are the ones that can independently push themselves to improve (i.e., not just because mom, dad or someone else wants them to improve).  I would also encourage young baseball players to respect their coaches and the game of baseball, to accept constructive criticism and advice from those that understand the game, to never underestimate your opponent, to play with a balance of confidence and humility, and most importantly, to have fun.  Too many kids these days are getting burned out with baseball and other sports at early age.  Playing baseball or any other sport should be enjoyable and fun.  If you don’t enjoy it, find something else in life that makes you happy.     

PBR: What do you do in the offseason to keep yourself in baseball shape and prepare for the upcoming season?

Stone: I am fortunate that I am able to train with some of the best coaches around at P3 (Premier Pitching and Performance) in St. Louis.  Brian DeLunas and Josh Kesel collectively work with me so that I am prepared both mentally and physically for the upcoming season and beyond.  I also participate in P3’s S.T.A.R.T.T. program (“Specific Thoughts & Actions Required Today & Tomorrow”) with Darrell Coulter.  The S.T.A.R.T.T. program focuses on mental clarity, emotional toughness, and the unique pitching skills that are required by a pitcher to compete at the highest level possible.     

PBR: What is the most memorable moment in your baseball career to this point?

Stone: Developing lasting friendships with my teammates at Lutheran South over the past 2 years and forming the “Wolf Pack”.  We decided last year that we needed to push each other individually to achieve excellence as a team and that individual goals and achievements were secondary.  We train together, we eat together, we travel together, and we win and lose together.  We are a close-knit family on and off the field. Regardless of my ups and downs now or in the future, I know that I will always be able to count on my Wolf Pack brothers.         

PBR: What do you like most about Arkansas State and what were the key factors in making your decision?

Stone: From a non-athletic perspective, Arkansas State has my degree program (Sports Management), is less than 4 hours from home, the campus and facilities are new or newly remodeled, it’s a medium-sized university, and I love the town of Jonesboro (and Jonesboro loves Arkansas State).  From a baseball perspective, Arkansas State provides me with the opportunity to play competitive Division 1 baseball in the South with coaches and players that treat each other like family.  Head Coach Raffo expects his players to achieve excellence on and off the field and I could see firsthand that he had built a program with strong team chemistry – a true “Wolf Pack”.  I saw them win and lose with class and regardless of the outcome, the players and coaches remained positive and supportive.  The players and coaches immediately made me feel like part of the team and I believe that if I continue to work hard that I will be able to contribute as a freshman and help the team keep winning ball games.   

PBR: What other schools were on your short list before you made your final decision?

Stone: Iowa, Illinois State, and Southern Illinois Carbondale for Division 1 and Drury University for Division 2.  

PBR: When did the recruiting process really start to heat up for you? Was there a particular game or event that you feel turned the corner for you?

Stone: I had early interest from Coach Nasby and Coach Peterson from Drury University over the summer and I was very impressed with the school and their baseball program.  Things then started to heat up with Division 1 schools after I pitched at a Premier Pitching showcase in Kansas City and at a PBR showcase at P3 in St. Louis this past winter.  The recruiting process really started to heat up after I sent out my PBR video in February 2016.  I’m thankful and appreciative that several coaches liked what they saw in the video and contacted me directly.

PBR: Preview your high school season for us. How do you feel your team will be? What are your expectations and goals? Name some players that will play a key role for Lutheran South this spring

Stone: I believe that Coach Pfund has the coaching staff and the player talent to lead Lutheran South’s Wolf Pack to a State Championship.  Although a State Championship is the ultimate goal, staying healthy and improving with each and every game and practice will be the key to our success.  Top to bottom, each player on the team contributes and plays a significant role in our overall success.  Although our team is filled with talented underclassmen, we will need senior leadership to play a key role for Lutheran South this spring.  Mark Melville is our star center fielder and with cat-like speed and reflexes, he often bails our pitching staff out of jams and causes fits for opposing pitchers on the base paths.  I would also like to mention that he throws a nasty knuckleball that floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee.  We also need big things from Alex “Al” Stevenson, our multi-talented shortstop, pitcher, and lead-off hitter.  Al is a truly phenomenal athlete and can do just about anything on the field.  Although Al speaks softly, he certainly carries a big stick! 

PBR: Where do you play in the summer? And what has been your most memorable experience with them?

Stone: I play summer ball with the St. Louis Naturals and we are coached by Adam Rush and Jeff Budrovich.  Over the past couple seasons I have developed a close relationship with Coach Rush and Coach Budrovich and they were both extremely supportive and reliable sounding boards during the recruiting process.  The most memorable experience with the Naturals has been traveling in style on the “Bud Bus” to out of town tournaments and bonding with my teammates on the road.  I’m blessed that I’ve been given these opportunities and understand that life doesn’t get much better than traveling the country in a “tenement on wheels” and playing baseball with your buddies.

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