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‘Tiny but mighty’

Stone Maddox shines as bat boy

By ZOË HAGGARD - zhaggard@t-g.com
Posted 7/2/22

Stone Maddox may be tiny but he’s mighty. And his ball team, coaches, and brothers would agree.  

Though only 9 years old, he’s the bat boy for the Community Middle School ball …

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‘Tiny but mighty’

Stone Maddox shines as bat boy


Stone Maddox may be tiny but he’s mighty. And his ball team, coaches, and brothers would agree.  

Though only 9 years old, he’s the bat boy for the Community Middle School ball team and a travel team called the Crushers, which his older brother River plays on.  

Coming from a long line of baseball fans, Stone was put on the ball field as soon as he could stand with a glove in his hand.  

“My whole family’s loved baseball. Our grandparents, they’ve always loved baseball and it’s fun getting out with my brother, trying to compete with him,” said Stone.  

Stone was actually born prematurely and isn’t the size of a typical 9-year-old.  

“So, when he gets on a baseball team that’s the first thing he does is he looks to see if he’s the littlest. There’s not been a time yet that he hasn’t been the smallest. But we keep telling him that mighty things come in small packages,” said his mom, Jennifer.  

Stone’s jersey number is 99—the biggest number on the team. And plus, if one was to look down from heaven, the 9-9 would look like GG, which is what they called their late great-grandmother who was an avid Braves fan.  

“She and Eric both helped with their love of the game,” Jennifer said. “She kept all her own stats. I still have all her stat books watching the Braves...Chipper Jones was her favorite player.”  

Stone, too, avidly follows the Braves. He keeps their stats and knows exactly what’s going on, Jennifer added. He even went to one Braves game where he got to run and slide onto one of the bases when he was just 7 years old.  

He enjoys being in the action and excitement of the game. His parents helped him create a resume to get the job as bat boy for Community Middle School baseball (complete with recommendation letters.)  

His job as a “bat boy” includes getting players food and drink, getting gear ready, catching the balls that the team throws in, and whenever they hit, getting the bats and putting them up as well as cheering his team on.  

A typical practice day with the middle school team includes lots of drills or BP (batting practice) where he fields.  

“Instead of just standing in the out-fields, I can just get in the in-field if no one’s there, get the hot-burners that come. And if I catch them, they’re like, ‘Oh! You did that!’ It’s kind of fun just showing them I can do it,” he said.  

He admits when he started as bat boy three years ago that he didn’t know what he was doing. But today he loves it—even on those hot, July days.  

“Sometimes in between innings, I’ll take my helmet off and let my head breathe,” he said. To condition for baseball, Stone and his brothers like to go to the rec center where they compete in swimming. Buster, Stone’s eldest brother, competes competitively.  

Though he plays with 13- to 16-year-olds, Stone says, “It’s really just fun to hang out with the team, just get to know the kids.”  

His coaches give him high praise for it.  

Jay Blackburn is an Assistant Coach for Community Middle School Baseball and a Bedford County umpire. He said Stone “never fails to retrieve the bats in between batters, but that’s just one small part of his role on our team. He’s at every practice we have, typically going through the same drills as kids that are 4-6 years older than him.” 

 Coach Chris Milliken (Coach Tiny) from the Crushers baseball team said, “If you have ever met him, you know that he is a different kind of young man. From his love of the Lord, to his mannerly behavior, to the drive and love he has for life (and Baseball)!”  

Brad Ward, Head of Umpires for Bedford County said, “Stone is a coach’s dream. His attitude and demeanor never changes...He is a perfect example of what a teammate should be.” 

Cade Ruehling coaches the Community Middle School team. He added, “From my playing days, and coaching for 17 years, I don’t think I have ever seen a boy love baseball so much as Stone Maddox... Stone was an extremely important member of our team. His personality is infectious.”  

He jokes, “He’d be the most perfect kid in the world if he wasn’t an Alabama fan!”  

That makes sense he likes Roll Tide because Eric and Jennifer Maddox are originally from Alabama.  

The Maddox Family moved to Bedford County in 2015 from Nashville. They now live in an antebellum home whose wood floors still show bloody stains and dents from when it was used as a hospital during the Civil War.  

They own about 35 acres, where they raise a large garden and a few livestock. It’s country living to say the least that gives the Maddox boys a place to explore and learn good work ethic—as well as plenty of space to catch and throw baseballs. Living on the farm is a learning experience.  

“You can’t always learn it in a book, but you can learn it hands-on,” said Jennifer.  

Stone and his brothers are also homeschooled, which creates a good balance between schoolwork and ball time.  

In addition to baseball, the brothers are also musically inclined. When they’re not in the ball fields, you might find them singing old bluegrass gospel songs at Victory Baptist where they attend church. Buster plays the guitar and writes music, River plays the banjo, and Stone plays the harmonica and is learning the mandolin.  

Playing together is a different kind of team but a team, nonetheless.  

They’ve learned mostly from their dad, Eric, who’s taught them not only the love of baseball but that “music is a window to the soul.”  

Jennifer added, “I think our goal has been to give them a good foundation.”  

“And that’s one of the best things I’ve ever done, is get my family into this environment and to raise them...teach them right from wrong here on this farm,” Eric said.