Flyers’ Coleman will take swing at Shawnee State baseball

Published 6:22 pm Friday, May 26, 2023

St. Joseph Flyers’ senior infielder Kai Coleman signed a letter-of-intent on Friday to play baseball for the Shawnee State University Bears. Attending the signing ceremony were: seated left to right, grandfather Buzz Warner, mother Erica Coleman, Kai, father Mike Coleman and grandmother Judy Warner; standing left to right, Flyers’ head coach Greg Bryant and Kai’s cousin Andrew Warner. (Tim Gearhart Sports Photo for The Ironton Tribune)

By Jim Walker

Kai Coleman has played basketball all his life. He has played in leagues and for his middle school and high school teams. So, on Friday he signed a letter-of-intent to play for the Shawnee State University Bears.

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In baseball.

Yes, baseball and not basketball.

St. Joseph’s Kai Coleman

Coleman called his audible after two stellar seasons for the St. Joseph Flyers that included helping the team win a share of the Southern Ohio Conference baseball title and its first sectional since 2007 as they finished district runners-up.

“I was always into basketball so I looked at a lot of schools for basketball, but then I just decided I wanted to play baseball instead,” said Coleman.

“I just feel I have a better chance to contribute at college in baseball than in basketball. I’m not really built for basketball.”

Flyers’ head coach Greg Bryant said Coleman was an answer to his prayers.

“He came to St. Joe two years ago and immediately filled our shortstop and leadoff position. He’s pitched when we’ve needed him. He’s done everything that we’ve asked him to do,” said Bryant.

“You couldn’t ask for a better kid. His background was basketball when he came here. His attention has moved more to baseball and he’s had a lot of serious as he’s had a lot of success for us and in the district and he’ll continue that as he goes to the next level.”

Coleman has played basketball since he was 2 years old. He played baseball for one year when he was 10 and didn’t pick it back up again until he was a freshman in high school.

“It really wasn’t’ that tough. I fit right in at Rose Hill. I really enjoyed it,” said Coleman about finding baseball again. “Then I went to St. Joseph who has a really good baseball team and I knew I could play here.”

Although he has pitched and played a couple of other positions, Coleman has been the team’s No.1 shortstop the past two seasons which is right where he wants to be.

“Shortstop definitely. A lot of action,” said Colman about his favorite position.

But then he called another audible.

“I think I’d be a good centerfielder. I don’t have the really strong arm you need to play shortstop in college, so I think I can play outfield in college,” said Coleman.

There are a lot of things that can change going from high school to college. Coleman said talent and academics will be the two biggest obstacles to hurdle.

“It’ll definitely be harder. I’ll have to work harder,” said Coleman. “And you have to balance classes with baseball, so that’s be harder. The competition will be better.”

Coleman said he enjoyed his high school career at St. Joseph but he is excited about the future.

“We won some big games in baseball this year. Our goal was to win the sectional championship and we did that pretty dominantly. We won our conference which was a big thing for (Coach Bryant) because he’s never done that,” said Coleman.

“As far as college goals, I just want to play and contribute to the team,

Coleman plans to major in accounting.

“I’m a pretty chill guy. I just like to hang out with my friends and watch TV and play sports,” said Coleman.

This time it looks like Coleman is sticking to the play he called.