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Senior Spotlight: Kase the Krusher

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St. Elmo's Stolte finishing career with great plate discipline

By Andrew Harner

ST. ELMO – A grand slam earlier this season has already given St. Elmo senior Kase Stolte something from his senior year that he will always remember.

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“Me and Ben Sperry have a thing about who is leading the team in home runs, so it was a good feeling that I tied him and hit in three other guys,” Stolte said.

Through Tuesday, they were still tied with two apiece.

But, if it’s up to Stolte, the grand slam and contest will be just two of many memories created this season.

Stolte, who plays center field, pitches and bats leadoff for the Eagles, can affect the game in many ways, and he plans to do so to help his team win a regional championship and beat some bigger schools during the regular season, specifically Pana.

“I’d like to see us win regionals,” Stolte said. “I’d like to see us knock off some teams that we’re not supposed to knock off.

“(To help do that) I’m going to have to have disciplined at-bats, throw the ball for my team and do anything I can to help the team win.”

There is little question that he has the batting part down.

During one five-game stretch earlier in the season, Stolte was 9-for-17 (.529) with two home runs, two doubles and five runs batted in.

Through Tuesday, he had hit in nine of 12 games and recorded four multi-hit games.

The pitching has also been there.

Stolte lost the season-opener at Shelbyville, but in starts against Harvard and Neoga, he struck out a combined 25 batters in 12 2/3 innings, while allowing just three runs on eight hits.

The Eagles, who only have 11 players, will need Stolte to continue posting those types of numbers to find the success the senior desires.

His coach, Ryan Beccue, has no reason to think that Stolte will do anything less.

“He’s a competitive kid and doesn’t like to fail,” Beccue said. “So far, he hasn’t failed much, and we’re pretty pleased with his performance.”

Beccue said that Stolte’s value to the team doesn’t lie in either his hitting or his pitching, because if the team lost either of those, it likely would not garner as many wins.

Stolte has helped the Eagles to a 6-6 record this season.

“It’s equal value,” Beccue said. “We don’t have much depth here, so he needs to produce for us at the plate and on the mound. I don’t know if I could say one is more valuable than the other.”

If he continues hitting grand slams, however, it may become harder not to give the majority of credit to Stolte’s offensive prowess.

But the odds of that happening are pretty slim, simply because of Stolte’s offensive approach.

“I definitely wasn’t trying to hit it (grand slam), but it was nice to get one,” Stolte said. “I like hitting in the leadoff spot, but I usually go up there looking for a double or single.”

Beccue added, “He’s been doing a good job of getting on base and hitting for power. I wouldn’t want to see him out the lineup.”

At the end of the season, though, Stolte will be out St. Elmo’s lineup, but his baseball career may continue.

He said Greenville College and Kaskaskia College have both expressed interest in him as a pitcher, but if neither takes him on, he will likely attend Christ For The Nations in Dallas, Texas, to study pastoral ministries.

“He’s fun to be around,” Beccue said. “We’ll hate to see him go.”