LHS baseball teammates commit to Hutchinson CC, set to play together for eighth year

photo by: LJWorld/David Rodish

Brooks Jones, right, and Sam Stoll will continue their baseball careers together at Hutchinson Community College after four years with Lawrence High School.

Since sixth grade, Brooks Jones and Sam Stoll have been teammates. The duo spent three years in youth baseball together before their high school careers at Lawrence High School.

Their time as teammates isn’t over yet, despite having graduated in May. Stoll, a Hutchinson Community College recruit since August, became the unofficial lead recruiter on Jones once the latter decommitted from Tulane University.

Hutchinson assistant coach Seth Wheeler asked Stoll about Jones after the decommitment, to which Stoll replied: “I’m on it.” From there, Stoll would remind Jones about Hutchinson and why he should go there about once a week.

However much he recruited him, it paid off when Jones committed to the Blue Dragons at the 2024 Kansas state baseball tournament in Lawrence. Jones’s first call went to Hutchinson coach Brock Nehls, but Stoll was the second person to know.

“I was pumped,” Stoll said. “We were sitting (at the Free State game), and he just said, ‘Go Dragons,’ and I said, ‘Are you going to do this?’ I texted my roommate right after and said we got him.”

Stoll, a first baseman and outfielder, began his recruitment process to Hutchinson in November of 2022 when he visited the campus under the school’s former coach. He visited again at the end of the summer between his junior and senior year and committed to Nehls and the Blue Dragons in August.

“I really enjoyed being around (the new coaching staff),” Stoll said. “I was thinking about going to check out some other places, but I just thought I’d really love to go there. I called them and let them know I’m in.”

Right around that time, Jones decided to decommit from Tulane. He wanted something else, something a little closer to home than New Orleans.

Jones kept his options open, but Hutchinson held a prominent spot. He liked what the coaching staff was doing and how it felt similar to his time in Lawrence. A visit to Hutchinson in November helped pull him closer to committing, but the pitcher still wasn’t sure if he wanted to go the junior college route or try to go straight to an NCAA Division I school.

“I talked to a lot of people about Division I (junior college), and they all said JUCO is a good move,” Jones said. “It’s really what a lot of people like now. A lot of (NCAA) Division I schools like it when you go to JUCO and work really hard and then you go to their program.”

In its first year under Nehls, Hutchinson went 51-13 and finished first in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference West before ultimately falling short in the NJCAA Region 6 baseball tournament to Johnson County in the championship game. A win would’ve sent the team to Grand Junction, Colorado, for the NJCAA World Series.

The Blue Dragons will have a hefty roster overhaul going into next season. The team had 23 sophomores out of 37 roster spots. Jones and Stoll will step into a young team, but it’s a young team that has high expectations based on the prior year.

“We have a big role to play, and I think we all know that,” Jones said. “But we’ve got some really good guys coming in. We know our role, and we know what we need to do, and I think we all believe that we can do it.”

Aside from continuing his baseball career at the next level, each former Lion gets to be with one of his closest friends once again. Even if it’s only for a year, as Stoll doesn’t expect Jones to stay at Hutchinson for long before being scooped up to go Division I, the two get to continue their seven-year playing streak.

photo by: Conner Becker/Journal-World

Lawrence High senior Sammy Stoll gets set for the start of the sixth during a game vs. Shawnee Mission Northwest on Tuesday, April 9, 2024, at LHS.

photo by: Conner Becker/Journal-World

Lawrence High senior Brooks Jones unloads a pitch during Wednesday’s Autism Awareness Game with Olathe West on April 24, 2024, at LHS. The Lions fell to the Owls 7-3.


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