Battiston Breaking Barriers

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By: Brett Barnes

In West Milton, Ohio, the name Kenny Battiston evokes images of a true student-athlete. Ken was a three sport letterman with an amazing ability to run and jump. He dabbled successfully in basketball and football, and he would have been an absolute shining star in track and field, but Ken’s true passion was baseball and is baseball. He parlayed this passion into a scholarship at Eastern Michigan University four years ago, and now his senior season is reaching completion. The last four years for Ken and his fans have flown by all too quickly. He is now a team leader and is looked up to by the younger players for guidance and leadership.

When he left West Milton, he had found nothing but success on the diamond. As a senior, he hit .400 with eight home runs, 31 RBI and 12 stolen bases and was named South Western Buckeye League Most Valuable Player garnering an All-Area first-team selection as well. During his junior season, Kenny notched a .430 batting average with five home runs, 29 RBI and 20 stolen bases and all-league honors. As a sophomore, hit .420 with four home runs, 30 RBI and 20 stolen bases… the accolades go on and on.

However, when he hit campus his freshman year, all of the high school achievements meant little, and Ken struggled. He only played in 19 games as a freshman, and his next season he only played in 17 games. His junior year he did not play at all because of a torn ACL in his knee. His career was in jeopardy.

Ken reflected recently on these struggles. “I was having a rough time and the game just wasn’t fun for me. I asked myself why I was getting so down on myself. After all I love this game; I feel like I have a pretty good life and I shouldn’t let this ruin it for me.” Ken Battiston relaxed and the mental barriers holding him back were gone.

As of May 11, Ken is hitting .349 with 5 homeruns and 36 RBI. He has stolen 10 bases in 12 attempts and even better his team is 31-17 on the season, and Ken has started 47 of the 48 games played. “The light went on for me this summer. I just took every game one pitch at a time and didn’t get so down if I messed up. I figured I would get another chance and things started to click from there.”

Head Coach Jay Alexander agreed, “Ken Battiston has been the heart and soul of our team.  His consistency throughout the year has allowed other players to figure some things out and get better.  Without his consistent performance at the plate I have no idea where we would be at this point.”

Ken is on schedule to graduate on time in the spring with an exercise science major and a 3.4 grade point average. He is not sure what the future holds for him, but he has proven that through any adversity, he will persevere. “He has transformed into what I think is
professional prospect and I just hope that the scouts see it the same way. In my opinion he is a legit no brainer in the draft.  He has power, speed, arm strength and can play great defense,” remarked Coach Alexander.

If I get the chance to play at the next level I will be very grateful. Until then I will just keep playing as hard as I can and not leave anything on the field. I’m pretty proud {of what I have accomplished}.”

 

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