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A Royal Eagle

Kirkwood Baseball Shortstop Kerry Howell drafted by Kansas City Royals

By Erich Pitcher
On October 31, 2017

Above, shortstop Korry Howell. Photo by Nico Robinson

For any athlete, one of the greatest single accomplishments is to be drafted by a professional sports team. According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association, only two percent of college athletes are drafted, which means those athletes are better than 98 percent of their competition. For one Kirkwood Community College Eagle that dream became a reality.

On June 14, baseball shortstop Korry Howell was drafted by the Kansas City Royals with the 570th pick in the 19th round. Howell had until July 7 to decide if he would sign on to be Royal or return to Kirkwood. Howell said he chose the former and will play for the Eagles this season with high expectations.

Howell came to Kirkwood from Chicago and Homewood-Flossmoor High School. Despite being lauded out of high school by many recruiting sites, Howell was not heavily recruited. Howell said he decided to take part in a showcase camp. It was there he awed Kirkwood scouts. “I knew some players here and I decided to take a visit and it felt like home,” said Howell.

The first season for Howell proved that it was mutually beneficial for both he and Kirkwood. Howell earned first team all-region honors all while hitting .394 with six home runs and 33 RBIs. His speed proved to be an asset as well. Howell snagged 43 stolen bases which set a new school record.

“Korry is an amazing athlete. He has tremendous range at SS. He is the best base-runner that we have had at Kirkwood. The surprising thing about Korry is the pop that he has and how much he can hit for power,” said Head Baseball Coach Todd Rima.

Howell said he began his baseball career at a young age. He recalled he was 3 or 4 years old when he went to his first baseball game. That first game was a game his brother was playing in. Howell witnessed the support of his family (especially his father who was very sports orientated). “Baseball felt the most natural. I was always the smallest kid and most fragile. Baseball was always number one and my mom and dad supported me,” recalled Howell.

Another recollection for Howell was AAU spring and summer ball tournaments. He said this allowed his family to take vacations around the United States while supporting him.

Howell has a deep love of the game. “I love the competition. Pure joy of overcoming and beating the guy in front of you. Baseball is fun,” he said.

Howell said when he found out he was drafted his summer league season with the Waterloo Bucks had just concluded and he was on his way home. “A scout for the Royals had told me they were looking at me in the 19th round. I actually found out on Twitter because I fell asleep on the car ride and woke up to text messages and notifications congratulating me,” stated Howell.

Since Howell decided to return to Kirkwood, he is aware there are high expectations. However, Howell has goals of his own. He was quick to address that he would like to improve his already strong GPA. On the field he expressed a desire to batting average and the will to be better.

“He is a tremendous kid. His teammates love him and he has matured a lot. He has a lot of positive energy and we are fortunate he is in our program,” said Assistant Baseball Coach Dan McKinney.

Rima added, “He went from having a couple of college offers to being a top 20 round draft pick. His hard work and commitment has paid off.”

After Kirkwood Howell stated he has strong desire to remain a part of baseball even if the professional route doesn’t work out. “I want baseball to be a part of my life. Either as a coach, scout or even an agent. I would just want to stay in the [sports] field,” said Howell. 

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