High School baseball: Hamilton standout ‘thankful’ to return to the diamond

Hamilton High School shortstop Kurtis Reid does some talking with Mason's J.P. Sponseller on Thursday, April 18, 2019, during a Greater Miami Conference baseball game at Hamilton. FILE PHOTO
Hamilton High School shortstop Kurtis Reid does some talking with Mason's J.P. Sponseller on Thursday, April 18, 2019, during a Greater Miami Conference baseball game at Hamilton. FILE PHOTO

Kurtis Reid wasn’t exactly counting the days between Hamilton High School baseball games, but he had a good idea of how much time had passed since the Big Blue’s season ended in 2019 and Opening Day of 2021.

Hamilton’s senior shortstop went 2-for-2 with a double, two walks and two stolen bases while the Big Blue was beating Edgewood, 8-3, in a non-conference home game on Saturday – Hamilton’s first official game since a 9-0 loss to La Salle in the second round of the 2019 Division I tournament on May 16, 2019.

COVID-19 pandemic protocols forced cancellation of the entire 2020 season, costing Ohio spring sports athletes an entire season of competition. They couldn’t wait get back on fields and courts and tracks this week.

“It definitely felt great,” Reid said during a telephone interview on Tuesday. “It was a little weird. After going 600-some days without high school baseball, there were bound to be some mistakes, but that happens to a lot of teams. Some people forget things.”

Reid included himself in that category. He confessed to a couple of baserunning blunders in Hamilton’s first two games, but that didn’t prevent the Big Blue from improving to 2-0 overall and 1-0 in the Greater Miami Conference with an 18-0 plundering of Princeton on Monday.

“That was a pretty big win,” Reid said. “Unfortunately, I went 0-for-4, but we still won. I was happy that our team showed what it can do without me.”

Reid hit .342 with six home runs, 23 RBIs and 12 stolen bases while Hamilton was going 12-14 overall and finishing third in the GMC with an 11-7 record in 2019. That was after batting .410 with nine doubles, two triples, one home run, 22 RBIs and 14 stolen bases as a freshman in 2019.

The University of Louisville commit was able to play summer baseball in 2020, and he spent time working on his overall game.

“I mainly focused on everything,” he said. “I didn’t want to focus on one thing. I’m trying to be a well-rounded baseball player, not just who can only hit or only field. I’m trying to become a five-tool player.”

Still, he didn’t find it as rewarding as playing for the Big Blue.

“For me, personally, I was really anxious to get back,” he said. “I was thankful enough that I was able to play some summer ball. Not a lot of people got to do that, but I enjoy high school baseball more. I enjoy playing with my school and with my childhood friends.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Ryan Kirkendall, Badin – The senior already had a win and six strikeouts on the mound while hitting a home run as the Rams were getting off to a 2-0 start. He hit .306 with 22 RBIs as a sophomore in 2019.

A.J. Enginger, Badin – The senior infielder went 3-for-5 in the Rams’ first two games after hitting .422 with 18 RBIs and 21 steals as a sophomore in 2019.

Trey Robinette, New Miami – The Vikings weren’t scheduled to open the season until Tuesday against Dixie, but they were counting on the senior infielder-pitcher, who hit .327 and had 27 steals while going 3-2 pitching with 21 strikeouts in 20-1/3 innings for a team that 9-12 overall and 6-10 in the Miami Valley Conference in 2019.

Kayden Campbell, Fairfield – The junior left-hander allowed two hits and a run in two innings against Mason on Monday in his 2021 pitching debut. The Louisville commit put together a 1.69 ERA in 29 innings as a freshman.

Mason Whitely, Edgewood – The senior infielder-pitcher hit .407, driving in 16 runs and stealing 14 bases while going 4-2 on the mound as a sophomore in 2019.

Andrew Bachman, Lakota East -- Senior left-hander and Ohio State signee had a 1.78 ERA as a sophomore in 2019.

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