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Baseball has high expectations for season

By Erich Pilcher
On February 20, 2018

Photo by Jeff Sigmund. Kirkwood Assistant Baseball Coach Dan McKinney gives hitting pointers at the youth baseball camp held on Feb. 11. Also present were current KCC players.

Expectations are part of life and a major part of collegiate athletics. Sometimes they can be viewed as unjustly high. This could be due to past success, talent level or just a major hope for the future. One can often see the fortitude of how one responds to high expectations. 

The Kirkwood Community College baseball team is looking forward to delivering a hard hitting response. 

The Eagles season is set to begin on Feb. 23 with four games in three days against Johnson Community College. High expectations are on tap for the Eagles, primarily because they have 19 sophomores on the squad. Out of that number, six have already signed on to play Division I baseball after their Kirkwood careers end. And that number is only expected to grow. 

“We have four other players with division one offers and this is what we want with our program, for there to be individual success,” said Head Baseball Coach Todd Rima. “We have guys who been through it and now they can take on a leadership role,” he added. 

Among those returning is MLB draftee Korry Howell. Howell was drafted in the 19th round by the Kansas City Royals. He elected to return to Kirkwood and has signed on to continue his career with the University of Iowa. Last season Howell hit .396 and was a speed demon on the base paths, snatching 43 bags. 

Also returning is Cedar Rapidian Cal Clark who hit .294 and showed some slick glove work only committing five errors throughout the season.  Kaden Waddle who had four saves and a 2.82 Earned Run Average (ERA) and Spencer Wiskus a .279 hitter with four home runs. 

“We made a commitment to getting better, throwing harder, throwing strikes and just getting better overall,” said Rima

Last season the Eagles were a youthful group. Despite that youthfulness they finished at 34-20 which includes a 15-9 record in conference play. They bowed out in the Region XI tournament but with all the experience, offensive firepower and leadership returning the Eagles have strong hopes for the season. 

“We are aiming for conference play and don’t want to get caught up (with expectations). We are developing everyday and we just need to control the controllables in what we do everyday. That is what is important,” Rima stated.  “I want high expectations and to set high standards, we are just going to work hard everyday.” 

Early on the Eagles will be road warriors. They spend the first month of games on the road with one weekend in Vero Beach Fla. and the next weekend in Winter Haven, Fla. In regard to playing on the road, Rima said, “I like it. It challenges our guys and it is a great test. It will only make us better in league play.” 

 

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