is almost as old as the Midwest Athletic Conference. Over the
last 35 years, the Cavs have won 24 MAC titles, including this season.
During that time they have had several quality players
that went on to play at the next level. However, the best of the best
might just be playing on the 2008 team and his name is Cory Klenke.
The Coldwater Cavaliers baseball team has a tradition of winning that is almost as old as the Midwest Athletic Conference (MAC). Over the last 35 years, the Cavs have won 24 MAC titles, including this season. During that time they have had a countless number of quality players that went on to play at the next level. However, the best of the best might just be playing on the 2008 team and his name is Cory Klenke.
Saturday Klenke hit a three-run home run and picked up the pitching win (two hits, six Ks, no walks) as the Cavs beat Ottawa-Glandorf 3-0 in a Division III district final at Elida.
The junior shortstop/pitcher is the perfect baseball machine.
At first glance it is clear Klenke has all the physical tools. He is big, strong and fast. However, according to his coach, Brian Harlamert, it is the things that lie beyond the obvious that make Klenke special.
“Cory’s work ethic is tremendous and he has a great desire and understanding of the game that is well beyond his years,” said Harlamert. “Nearly all the coaches here played college baseball and none of us have ever seen a kid that knows the game like Cory.”
Klenke’s physical gifts were apparent from the first time he walked into the Cavalier program. He started as a freshman at shortstop and has not looked backed.
“He was very physically mature as a freshman,” said Harlamert.
This season Klenke was taken off the leadoff spot and slotted in the third hole. The move was beneficial to both he and the team, although Klenke has been forced to make some adjustments.
“We needed a big bat that could drive in runs in the middle part of the line up,” said Harlamert. “After the ninth game were we 6-3 and decided to move him down. It has been an adjustment for him as teams have pitched around him, but the move has really helped the team.”
Klenke’s numbers speak loudly about his talent. Heading into the regional, the junior is hitting .411 with 6 home runs, 40 RBI and 33 runs scored. His skills have not been lost on opposing pitchers and teams. Klenke has walked 20 times, with five of those intentional.
“(Being pitched around) is something that Cory had to learn to deal with,” said Harlamert. “He had to learn that he might get one pitch to hit and he can’t miss it, but he seems to be adjusting.”
Defensively Klenke has excelled at shortstop after spending last summer playing it in the Connie Mack league. Now it appears that will be his position in college, but that has not been determined.
“At first I thought maybe third or second would be his position (in college),” said Harlemert. “But after spending last summer playing Connie Mack I think he is a college shortstop.”
Some of the colleges showing interest in Klenke are LSU, Stanford, Georgia Tech, Ohio State and Michigan. The heartland kid appears to be leaning towards staying near home to play college baseball.
“Cory is a Midwest kid and I think he will play college in the Midwest,” said Harlamert. “He is going to Ohio State for a visit very soon.”
Klenke will first look to lead the Cavs to another baseball state title. Coldwater plays Saturday against Ottawa Glandorf in the D-III District Final. The Cavs and Klenke hope to finish their season in Cooper Stadium, winning yet another state title.
“With five seniors on it, this team strives on the pressure,” said Harlamert. “This year’s group really embraces the pressure (of the Coldwater tradition).”
Klenke and several of his baseball teammates know a little something about winning state titles. With Klenke under center, the Cavs captured the Division IV state football title in December.