Ayden Stone remembers the moment that the game of softball entered her life. At the age of three, Stone recalls her and her dad playing catch with a soft toy ball. From that moment the game has been her love.
“My parents were the ones that introduced me to softball. There is something amazing about the game that made me fall in love with it that is indescribable,” Stone said. “I played other sports throughout the years like basketball and volleyball, but no sports made me feel the way softball makes me feel.”
It was that building block that has pushed Stone to pursue her dream of playing softball in college. A dream that will come true now that she has signed a national letter of intent to continue her softball career and attend Fairleigh Dickinson University.
“I am beyond excited to continue to play my favorite sport at Fairleigh Dickinson! When I first talked to Coach Foye over the phone (the head coach at FDU), he sounded like he really valued me and my abilities as a player. I know that he is going to put in his best effort to help me improve as a player for the next four years,” Stone said. “I am dedicated to working hard, making sure I don’t let Coach Foye down and being the best player and teammate possible to help make the softball program successful at FDU. I also know that Fairleigh Dickinson is a high academic school, and that was something I was really looking for in a college. The school being private and the campus being beautiful is a bonus as well.”
Fairleigh Dickinson softball head coach Chris Foye said that he is looking forward to Stone being a part of the team and believes she could contribute.
"Ayden is a great defensive player who will add offensive power to our team with her big bat,” Stone said in a statement released by the University following signing day. “She is the type of person with the work ethic you want on your team. She loves the game and will lift those around her. She comes from a top-notch organization so I know she will be ready to compete."
Stone is in her senior year at Hanford High School and plays for the Firecrackers softball team, who have had many players sign to continue playing in college. Stone joins her Hanford High teammate Lilly Garcia, who also signed to play in college at Cal State Fullerton.
Playing on the Firecrackers has helped Stone gain the confidence she felt she needed to become the player she is.
“I have been dreaming about playing softball in college since I first picked up a glove. It became more of an attainable goal after I started playing for Firecrackers Central California with head Coach Mike Wallace,” Stone said. “Coach Mike’s knowledge of the game, passion and always pushing me to be better helped take me to a whole different level of playing. Now the fact that I’m able to get an education and play the sport I love is a dream come true for me!”
While Stone’s future is set, she said that she hopes to make lasting memories during her senior season.
“My goal for this year is to continue playing at a high level with my travel team Firecrackers Central California 18G Wallace and continue to grow as a player,” Stone said. “I would really love to make an impact on my high school team as well. I really want to have a lot of fun with my teammates, and to cherish my last season in high school.”
Stone said that she could not have accomplished her goal if not for the support of those in her life who pushed her to succeed.
“I can’t thank my parents enough for providing me the resources to become the player I am today,” Stone said. “I am also extremely thankful for my coaches and teammates for pushing me to be a better player and teammate.”
Stone has earned First Team All-League Honors at Hanford High School, along with the Coach's Award at multiple points of her interscholastic career. A multi-sport athlete, Stone also played basketball and volleyball. Additionally, the 5'8 versatile player was a member of leadership club and also played with club side Firecrackers for coach Mike Wallace. Academically, Stone is a member of CSF Club and was named the 'Science Student of the Year.' She is planning on studying animal science or pre-vet at FDU come the fall of 2022.