Prep Baseball: Stoner to Belmont Abbey

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 20, 2016

By Mike London

SPENCER — Belmont Abbey baseball signee Trey Stoner is one of those late-blooming kids whose best athletic days are still ahead of him.
Until this school year, he was the skinny kid near the end of the bench for North Rowan football and basketball teams. He played second base for the baseball team, although he rarely got to swing a bat.
He was a friendly guy with a quick smile. When Post reporters arrived at North to do an interview, Stoner would volunteer to locate the stud athlete the Post was looking for.
But youngsters change. They grow up. As a senior, Stoner was stronger, tougher, more mature, more confident and more successful.
And finally Stoner got to do his first interview.
“It was a blessing to have so many good things happen this year,” Stoner said. “I’ve got to give a lot of credit to Coach (Ben) Hampton for pushing me so hard in football. There used to be days when he’d see me and he’d say, ‘Trey, are you going to the weight room?’ and I’d tell him I had other stuff to do. But then I finally started going to the weight room.”
Stoner is still a lean 155 pounds, but he’s still growing, and he picked it up a lot as a senior.
He was a factor for North football as a receiver for the first time, catching 16 passes for 208 yards and scoring touchdowns against West Stokes and East Davidson.
“It was the first year he was able to get off the line of scrimmage,” said North head baseball coach Aaron Rimer, who is also a football assistant.
Stoner increased his basketball contribution on a 20-2 team, and his glove was a difference-maker at shortstop for a North Rowan baseball team that won 17 games and the Central Carolina Conference regular-season and tournament championships.
“Trey’s body caught up with his height this year,” Rimer said. “He got a lot better. As a senior he just decided that he wanted to do something. He’s tough, and he flies around. He was really good in the field.”
Rimer switched Stoner from second base to shortstop at midseason, with junior Corbin Smith making a corresponding slide from shortstop to second base. It didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, but that move helped North and both players.
“Corbin and I have played together forever and we’ve been close friends a long time,” Stoner said. “He never acted like I was taking his spot or anything like that. We just did what we were asked to do for the team, and the switch worked out well.”
Belmont Abbey discovered Stoner by accident. Coaches came to watch North’s left-handed pitcher Brandon White, who signed with the Crusaders, but it was hard not to notice North’s shortstop. Stoner was gliding around, covering ground and making accurate throws.
“I owe that to Brandon White because Belmont Abbey liked the way I played and then they wanted me to make a visit,” Stoner said. “They took me around the campus, and I knew it was right. They told me I could have some time to think about it, but I didn’t need time. I knew it was a great opportunity.”
Stoner is a great student who plans to major in pre-med. He would’ve gone on to college even if he hadn’t gotten a chance to be on Belmont Abbey’s baseball team.
Stoner batted only 19 times as a senior with three RBIs, so he’s got work to do with the bat before he can play for a very strong program that is currently competing in the Southeast Regional. Belmont Abbey beat Catawba twice this year.
Still, Belmont Abbey’s coaches saw Stoner’s potential and North’s coaches know he’s going to follow his athletic dreams as far as he can.
“Trey’s got to keep getting stronger and he’s got a lot of hard work in front of him,” Rimer said. “But athletically, he can play at that level.”