July 13 - When Chris Warren secured Jack Cone for his FCA Braves roster this summer, he knew the former South County standout would fill multiple roles.
Cone has done that and more, and the William & Mary outfielder and right-handed pitcher was recognized by being named to the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League’s All-Star Game earlier this week.
The 5-foot-11, 165-pound rising sophomore enters tonight’s game against the Alexandria Aces second in the league with a 1.78 ERA, carrying a 2-1 record with 31 strikeouts in 26 innings. He picked up a two-inning save while going 2-for-3 with a solo home run in last night’s 6-2 win over the D.C. Grays and had his longest outing last Sunday, when he allowed one run and scattered two hits over 5.2 innings in the Braves’ 3-2 win over the Aces.
“He’s pitching really well. He’s been very good so far, very efficient on the mound and obviously his numbers speak for themselves,” said Warren, who points at Cone’s athleticism as an added bonus defensively. “He’s very versatile, and he makes your defense so much better. It’s like having another infielder.”
That versatility doesn’t end on the mound. The left-handed swinging Cone has started games in right and center field and at designated hitter. At the plate, he’s hitting .232 with a .338 on-base percentage, two home runs and eight RBI in 56 at-bats.
“He’s been one of our bright spots this year, for sure,” Warren said. “After he starts, we give him a day off and integrate him back in slowly. It’s just a question of balancing the work-load on his body between pitching and playing in the field.”
Cone is no stranger to pulling double-duty, having hit .241 with 12 extra-base hits and 22 RBI in 191 at-bats while making six appearances on the mound as a freshman with the Tribe this spring. As a senior at South County in 2018, he set a school-record by hitting .493 with five homers and 20 RBI while going 4-3 with a 3.12 ERA and 56 strikeouts in 38 innings.
He was joined at Wednesday’s All-Star Game by two teammates who also hail from area schools in High Point left-hander Jack Nathan (South Lakes) and Virginia Military Institute outfielder Jordan Ebersole (Madison). Other area players named to the Virginia/D.C. team for the All-Star Game were George Mason right-hander and infielder Jared Lyons (West Springfield) and George Mason outfielder Scotty Morgan (Woodbridge) from the Alexandria Aces and Magnus Ellerts (Woodbridge), a rising freshman at Harford Community College who is pitching for the D.C. Grays.
Area players named to the Maryland team for the game were William & Mary catcher/outfielder Matt Thomas (Lake Braddock), Georgetown lefty Jack Weeks (Paul VI Catholic) and Liberty pitcher Logan Barker (Colonial Forge).
The fifth-place Braves (12-17) enter tonight on a three-game winning streak and trail the Gaithersburg Giants (13-16) by a game and the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts (14-14) by 2.5 games with 10 days left in the league’s 40-game regular season. The Bethesda Big Train (23-6) and Grays (16-16) top the CRCBL standings, with the Aces (9-18) in last place.
All six teams will make the postseason, with the top two receiving byes to the best-of three semifinal round.
Photo of Jack Cone by Mark Briscoe