In a winter that shows no signs of abating, warm days and baseball seem like distant dreams. For Hunter Beetley, playing baseball in college is a dream that came true.
Beetley will join the Kaskaskia College Blue Devils after high school, fulfilling a dream he's had since he first picked up a bat.
“It’s something I've always wanted to do, ever since I first started playing,” Beetley said of playing college baseball. “And KC has a great team, so it’s a great opportunity for me.”
His powerful bat was a mainstay in the middle of the Nashville Hornets' lineup last year, and his coaches and college scouts took notice.
“He is a sweet swinging lefty with a pretty swing,” Nashville coach Chad Malawy said. “He also has excellent vision, and he sees the ball great.”
KC head coach Mitch Koester agrees with Malawy's assessment, and he sees Beetley helping his team right away.
“He has a good left handed bat, and he hits with power,” Koester said. “He could come in right away and hit in the middle of our order.”
Beetley's athleticism allows him to be in the mix for several positions in college, and with a bat like his, he should be able to find a spot on the diamond.
“We see him as a corner outfielder type, but he can also play one of the corner infield positions too,” Koester said.
Because he also plays basketball for the Hornets, Beetley has not yet had a chance to focus just on baseball. That will change in college.
“I'm looking forward to getting in the weight room and working with the professional trainers there,” Beetley said. “I know they will help me build some muscle and get stronger, and that will help me get better.”
Malawy agrees that Beetley centering his attention on one sport means his best baseball is still ahead of him.
“He does a lot of stuff through the year, and he's never just focused on baseball,” said Malawy. “Now that he can spend more time working on it I think gives him a big upside.”
Hitting in college level requires players to make adjustments to be successful.
“Hunter will be hitting better pitching than he did in high school, and he will be facing that pitching every day,” Koester said. “But I think Hunter's work ethic will help him make those adjustments and be a successful college player.”
Beetley, who plans to study industrial electronics, will take advantage of the opportunity to play the game he loves while preparing for the future. He says he might work on power lines after he graduates.
Pictured is (seated) Francine and Dale Beetley (seated) and Hunter Beetley. Standing is NCHS Coach Chad Malawy, KC head coach Mitch Koester, KC Assistant Coach Marcus Wilson and KC graduate assistant coach Cameron Obermeier.
Article written by Travis Volz of the Nashville News.