WOOD RIVER JCT. — Zac Kittell and Kyle Kirby had entirely different offensive roles for Chariho High’s baseball team, both did them well and as a result received postseason recognition.
Kittell and Kirby were named to the Division II-South first-team, which was made up of the top 14 players in the league regardless of position.
Catcher Jake Blacklock won the Golden Glove award, and shortstop Darin Thibeault made the second team.
Kittell, a senior, hit leadoff for the Chargers and was a classic table setter. Kirby hit in the three spot and was counted on to hit for power and drive in runs.
“Basically, our offense was riding Zac Kittell and Kyle Kirby all year,” Chariho coach Andy Devereaux said.
Kittell finished with a .355 batting average and led the team with 25 runs scored.
“Zac was the table-setter. He walked a lot and he saw a lot of pitches for us. He was always a threat to steal a base and whenever he got on base we were looking good,” Devereaux said.
Kittell played in 19 games, starting them all, and had eight multi-hit games. He hit three doubles and drove in four runs. Devereaux said Kittell’s play at second base was consistent and only remembered him making one or two errors.
Kittell’s .355 batting average was a huge improvement from his junior year when he hit below .200 in 14 games. The postseason award was his first.
While Kittell was counted on to set the table, Chariho needed Kirby to clear it and the center fielder did that as well as anyone on the Chariho roster. The left-handed hitting Kirby led the Chargers in batting average (.426) and RBIs (20). Kirby finished the year with three doubles and three triples and scored 24 runs.
“Whenever we had people on base we were hoping Kyle was coming up. He was by far and away the best hitter on the team. He was a good player in the field; he was a typical solid center fielder with good range and a strong arm.,” Devereaux said.
Kirby hit .310 last year when he earned Division II-South honorable mention.
Thibeault, a sophomore, seeing his first extensive varsity action, hit .302 with four doubles, 11 runs scored and 10 RBIs. He was one of 14 players on the second team.
Devereaux said he was very happy with how Thibeault played an important position and was impressed with how he did not get intimidated at becoming a field general. Devereaux foresees Thibeault becoming a three or four hitter.
The Golden Glove award that Blacklock received is one of four special awards given out by the league’s coaches. The coaches also recognized a Cy Young, an MVP and divisional Player of the Year.
Devereaux said the league’s coaches apparently took notice of the junior’s play behind the plate.
“Jake is a great defensive catcher. He threw out 10 runners this year, which is great for a catcher in our league. He always left the other team at first base, which is a big factor. Jake can block the ball and they didn’t get many free bases on wild pitches or passed balls. I guess the other coaches could see what a great catcher he was and remembered him,” Devereaux said.
Chariho went 10-9 and 10-6 in league play. The Chargers dropped their first two games in double-elimination regional play in the Division II tournament.