Kyshaun, a Little Rock Central High student, is a catcher and third baseman who's been playing with Little Rock RBI since he was 12 and the Boys & Girls Club of Central Arkansas since age 5. Learn how RBI Coach Tony Dunnick has influenced him, why he loves baseball and Jackie Robinson, and what he's planning to do in college ... and beyond!
Tell us a little bit about who you are:
I’m Kyshaun Jones, I go to Little Rock Central High School, and I’ve been playing in Little Rock RBI since I was 12.
And what baseball position do you play, Kyshaun?
I play third base and catcher.
How did you get started playing RBI baseball?
Well, my whole family loves baseball — my little brother and sister play, too — and I’ve been playing since I was really little, maybe like five years old. But I got started playing with RBI because of Coach Tony [Dunnick].
How did Coach Tony get you started with RBI?
Actually, he didn’t just get me started with RBI. I started playing T-ball at Billy Mitchell [Boys & Girls Club], and that’s where I met Coach Tony. From there, he got me into the Boys & Girls Club’s Pitching Machine and playing with West Central. After that, I got into RBI and playing with league teams. And I play on the Central High team, too.
So you’ve been playing with Coach Tony for a long time?
Uh-huh. Our team, the Indians, we’ve all been playing together with Coach Tony ever since we were seven or eight.
We’ve been together for so long — wins, losses, a lotta history.
Have you been able to count on Coach Tony and RBI?
Oh, yeah! Coach Tony’s been picking me up to come here since I was eight. I’ve been here longer than you today! I came up with Coach Tony this morning at, like, 8 a.m. And I’ll stay here with him until we’re all done putting everything back after the last practice tonight.
If I don’t have a ride for RBI, Coach Tony’ll always come and get me. A lot of the times, he’ll still pick me up even if I do [have a ride]. Haha, sometimes he’ll even pick me up if I don’t want to come — like I’m tired and want to sleep or something. He’ll still be there calling me to get up so he can come and get me! Looking back, I guess that’s a good thing.
Do you have a favorite RBI memory?
Yeah! Last year when we beat the Cubs for the [Little Rock RBI] Championship! That’s my favorite memory. I got up to hit and beat three to steal home. That was awesome.
That sounds like quite a play!
It really was! We were down four with the bases loaded, and I stole all the way home. When I was sliding in for home, I knocked the ball out of the other team’s catcher’s hand and the umpire called me safe. Just like, “ … boop!” [demonstrates knocking the ball loose] The Cubs’ coach challenged it, but he didn’t get it. He still doesn’t like me for that, I think. I don’t blame him though. I’d be mad, too, if it happened to me. But, man, that was fun! That was the best.
Do you have a favorite baseball player?
Yes, him [nods heads toward “Breaking Barriers” character value banners], Jackie Robinson.
How did you learn about Jackie Robinson?
Mostly playing “MLB: The Show 16” — I just tried playing as him one time. I like how he steals the bases, too.
Have you learned something about him with these banners?
Yep. They [the coaches] preach these words [Courage, Teamwork, Determination, Persistence, Integrity, Citizenship, Justice, Commitment and Excellence] every practice, every game. We were just talking about them and him [Jackie Robinson] today when we circled up on the field earlier.
Which Breaking Barriers value do you really think sums up Little Rock RBI?
Definitely integrity. Our RBI teams are held to a standard. And we stay together to do that.
Especially during a tournament when we’re here really late. I mean, we’ll take a break to eat and then come back and keep playing until midnight or 1 a.m. And we’re still held to the same high standards, even when we’re tired and everything.
It’s my favorite to play in the dark like that, though. I’d rather not play in the day, like right now. I love when the lights come up at night. It’s like a different world.
So why do you love baseball and Little Rock RBI?
Well, I mostly love baseball because I figured out I was good at it, you know? And my whole family likes it, too.
And what I like about RBI is that it teaches you good competition techniques. You play with people from everywhere and against people from everywhere — not just Little Rock, places like Bryant, too. You’re not just playing the same people from the neighborhood every time. But you can, if you want. You can bring the neighborhood with you to play, too!
I like that I can come back to school after the summer and be talking to some of the other guys who play RBI, too, about these great games, and other people school will be like, “Wait, when did that happen?” or, “Who are you talking about?”
What’s different about how you play with Little RBI baseball?
Well, like I was saying, you get to play with people from other schools and towns. And you can really express your talent. Coaches don’t really strictly tell you how to play — there’s no big system. Like, I can steal bases here. On a league or a school team, I can’t do that. I’d get benched, because the coaches have a specific way they want the game to go. Here, if I can make it happen, I can do it and really express myself. Even if Coach Tony does threaten me for doing it all the time. But, if it works, you know? If it works, you can get away with it!
Do you have plans for what you want to do after high school?
Well, they tell me that I’m good enough to play [baseball] in college, maybe past that. But I know for sure that want to go to play in college and study business while I’m there.
I want to become a business mogul, work for a corporation. Maybe at a place like Google. I want to wear a suit, like a three-piece suit, to work every day. I want to make decisions, run things — be the kind of guy at the top who has a company car and takes jets to big meetings. So, I don’t know exactly what kind of business I want to do, yet, but I know I want a job where you wear a suit to work.
Funding for JACKIE ROBINSON is provided by Bank of America; Public Broadcasting Service; Corporation for Public Broadcasting; The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations; Mr. Jack C. Taylor; and members of The Better Angels Society, including Dalio Foundation, Jessica & John Fullerton and John & Catherine Debs.