SPRINGHILL, N.S. – The baseball bar has been set very high by the Stone brothers of Springhill.
The 17-year-old twins, Mats and Nate, have each won five AAA minor-league baseball titles in five years; three provincial titles, one Atlantic title and one National Elimination title that catapulted them to the 2018 national championships in Fort McMurray, Alberta in July.
“The first year of the Nova Scotia midget provincials stands out the most for me because I didn’t think we were going to do that well,” said Mats.
“I think my favourite title was winning the Atlantics in Bantam AAA,” said Nate. “Winning that was pretty awesome.”
The Stone’s played two years of bantam AAA baseball with the Dieppe Cardinals in New Brunswick before playing three years of midget AAA ball with the U18 Bearcats in Truro.
The brothers won one New Brunswick provincial title and one Atlantic championship playing with Dieppe, and won back-to-back Nova Scotia provincial titles with the Bearcats; winning their most recent title at the 2018 Nova Scotia championships in Truro in mid-September with a 5-3 victory over the Kentville Wildcats in the final.
They also won the 2018 National Elimination tournament with the Bearcats and traveled to the Canadian National Championship in Fort McMurray, Alberta, in July.
Nate plays shortstop and second base, and Mats is a catcher and also plays on third base.
“I like playing the infield. I’m better at fielding than hitting,” said Nate
“I like to hit,” said Mats. “I like to get up there, not wait, and just hit the ball.”
The triple AAA system has taught them a lot about baseball.
“The first year of Bantam in Dieppe there was a lot I didn’t know about the game that you need to know to play at that level,” said Nate. “Pat Tardiff, my coach there, really knows what he’s doing, so he taught me a lot and helped me get up to the next level where I needed to be.”
“We both went in never playing AAA ball before and there’s a lot more to the game than there is in playing A ball,” added Mats. “It was an adjustment to get used to it. It took a few games, but after that it was great.”
Starting with new teams was always an adjustment for the twins.
“It’s hard going to a new team where you don’t really know anybody and try to work your way into a spot,” said Nate.
“Having to do it twice didn’t help but now the boys are like brothers,” added Mats.
It also helped that they’ve had each other.
“My goodness, I don’t know if I would have had the confidence to do what I did without Nate,” said Mats.
They’ve spent most of their life playing baseball together, and wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’s awesome. It’s the best thing you could ever imagine,” said Nate
“Going to the field every day with your best friend. Nothing can beat it. It’s awesome,” added Mats.
The two are known for their competitive spirit, and both hate to lose.
“I think Nate’s a little more fiery than me. He gets mad way easier. I can keep my composure,” said Mats.
“I haven’t really changed much in that way,” added Nate.
Now that their minor baseball career is closing, the brothers hope to continue playing baseball in Truro next year.
“They’re talking about having a junior, under-21 team in Truro and, if not, I’ll still be playing ball somewhere,” said Nate.
“Intermediate baseball in Truro would be an option,” added Mats. “I played provincials with them two weeks ago and we came in second.”
The brothers thank their coaches over the years for teaching them the game, and they also thank their parents, Joel Stone and Melissa Terris, for supporting them every step of the way.
“I have to thank mom and dad for everything they’ve done, especially all the traveling,” said Mats. “They’ve sacrificed a lot that’s for sure. Words can’t express how much they’ve done.”
“If it wasn’t for them we would have never been able to do what we did and win what we did,” added Nate. “There have been a lot of long drives over the years.”