Kuykendall again South Carroll's most consistent hit

April 16, 1993|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,Contributing Writer

How well can Charlie Kuykendall hit?

"Look at his numbers," said South Carroll baseball coach Joe Foltz.

The South Carroll left fielder batted .400 during his sophomore season. He followed that with a .508 junior season. Through the first six games of his senior season, his average is .353.

His totals through two regular seasons included: .441 career average, 56-for-127, 32 hits during his junior year (tied school record) and seven consecutive hits twice last year (tied another school record).

Kuykendall might be the big hit for South Carroll this season. The Cavaliers, who reached the state semifinal two years ago and the regional final last year, lost six starters and five of their first six games.

Kuykendall is well aware that the Cavaliers returned only three start

ers from last year's regional finalists. He's heard talk that he will carry the team.

"There's only so much one person can do," said Kuykendall, who most likely will break the school record for career average. "One person can't do it all."

Foltz said the pressure has not affected Kuykendall.

"Charlie's a pure hitter," said Foltz. "He's still doing his thing."

Kuykendall has done his thing since joining the varsity two years ago. Nearly half of the hits during his sophomore and junior years were for extra bases.

And, during his team's loss at North Carroll on Wednesday, the left-handed hitter sent a booming shot over the right-center field fence for his first high school home run.

"I've always had a good bat," said Kuykendall. "I used to have a lot of power, but now I hit line drives."

Kuykendall brings a quick swing to the plate. Foltz said the senior

does just about everything in a textbook style.

"He's got a real short stride," said Foltz. "He's got a quick bat. He does everything he's supposed to do."

The strength of the South Carroll lineup in the last two years assured him of many fastballs -- Kuykendall said the team hit around .390 last year. This year, with the Cavaliers' strength having decreased, curveballs are coming with greater frequency.

Kuykendall found a good swing early in his baseball career, which began at age 5. His batting average almost always stayed around .500 throughout his recreation league days.

No matter what league Kuykendall played in, he found success. At one point, at age 8, he played in a league with players four years older. Kuykendall hit cleanup on that team -- with a .500 average.

Confidence helps Kuykendall. He believes in his ability to hit. And,

superstitions help his confidence.

Kuykendall always eats the same meal for lunch on a game day. A hamburger, an order of fries and two milks make up his mid-day meal.

He always wears ties on game day. In addition, Kuykendall sticks with the same batting gloves. Before the North Carroll game, Kuykendall thought of how to help break out of a mini-slump.

He decided to change into his uniform on the bus to North Carroll. A home run resulted, so Kuykendall said he'll keep doing that for a while.

"[Superstitions] are all in my mind," said Kuykendall. "It relaxes me a lot. It helps my confidence."

Kuykendall plans to go to a junior college after graduation and hopes to play at a four-year college after that. At junior college, he can work more on his hitting.

L Kuykendall will just keep things simple in the batter's box.

"I just try to concentrate on every pitch," he said.

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