Golden Eagles coach finds bargain by signing Kerns

Published 4:54 am Friday, May 3, 2024

Ironton Fighting Tigers senior baseball standout Chaydan Kerns signed a letter-of-intent on Wednesday to play for Kent State University at Tuscarawas. Attending the signing ceremony were, from left to right, brother Jeremy Kerns, Chaydan and his mother Kim Spilman. (Tim Gearhart Sports Photo/For The Ironton Tribune)


Ironton Fighting Tigers senior baseball standout Chaydan Kerns signed a letter-of-intent on Wednesday to play for Kent State University at Tuscarawas. Attending the signing ceremony were: seated left to right, step-mother Karissa Kerns, Chaydan and father Paul Kerns; standing left to right, brothers Jaxon and Bryson Kerns and sister Layce Kerns. (Tim Gearhart Sports Photo/For The Ironton Tribune)

By Jim Walker

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And today’s baseball special is a 2-for-1 sale. It’s Chaydan Kerns.

When Kent State Tuscarawas head coach Cole Morozek signed the Ironton Fighting Tigers’ Chaydan Kerns on Wednesday, the Golden Eagles coach got two players in one.

Morozek is planning to use Kerns not only as a pitcher but an everyday player, probably in the infield.

“Chaydan is going to come into the fall as a two-way player for us here at Kent State Tuscarawas. We absolutely love him on the mound,” said Morozek. “As a freshman the expectation is for him to come in and start immediately. He’s going to have opportunities to grab a middle infield spot as well.”

Chaydan Kerns

The right-handed Kerns is looking forward to continuing to play the game as the case has been during his high school career instead of specializing like most players.

“I definitely would like to be a two-way player. I think I can play at the next level and once I get to college. I’ll show them what I can do in the field and prove myself,” said Kerns.

“(Ironton coach Travis Wylie) plays me at a lot of different positions. I can play about anywhere. I prefer shortstop and pitching.”

Although he has had some tough luck decisions this season, Kerns is 3-3 with a 2.19 earned run average. He has struck out 49 batters in 38.1 innings with 19 walks

Kerns is batting .316 on the season with a home run, a triple, 3 doubles and a team-high 17 runs batted in.

“Pitching for me is my favorite position. I’m the one in control. The game is in my hands, so it’s going at my pace and it’s where I’m the most comfortable,” he said.

Kerns got a scare last season when he had some elbow problems and it was feared he had torn his ulnar collateral ligament.

“We thought I tore my UCL, but it turned out to just be a strain. I just took off a couple of weeks and I was back at it again,” said Kerns.

Not only does Kerns feel in charge on the mound, he knows his strengths and weaknesses and he knows how he wants to pitch.

“I’ve had multiple coaches try to tell me how I need to throw and how I should throw. I just show them whenever they show me how to throw the ball, it doesn’t work as well as when I do it my own way,” said Kerns.

“My slider and my curveball are my two best out pitchers. I’m the most confident in those. Recently, I’ve been throwing my change-up more. I’ve been working on that because I’m going to have to have that in college. I like to have a variety of pitches and try to keep the hitters off-balance. I’ll throw any pitch at any time in the count.”

Coach Wylie had nothing but praise for Kerns as a player, a student and a person.

“First off, great kid,” said coach Wylie. “This year, the big thing is him just being a leader. Another impressive thing was as a senior his focus was as strong as ever. That means a lot with him being a senior and being his coach.

“He’s a great player, a great pitcher, a great infielder. His hitting has gotten better over the years. He’s driving the ball. I’m looking for him to have a great career in college.”

Morozek said that Kerns has a quiet demeanor but a fire burns very hot inside.

“He is the ultimate competitor out there on the mound and he wants the baseball,” said Morozek.

“I couldn’t be happier with the quality of person Chaydan is and the quality ball player we are getting. He’s going to do some big things for us the next 4 years.”

Kerns has also played football and basketball in the past, but he left no doubt that baseball was his true love.

“I’ve played baseball all my life, ever since I could walk,” he said with a grin. “I’m OK at it. I never really put work into it. I was naturally good. But once I started putting work into my game it got me to where I am today.”

Bluefield State, Cornell University and a couple of junior colleges came calling, but he said a visit and conversation with Morozek solidified his decision.

“When I talked to coach Morozek, I just fell in love with the program. He was texting me every day. It just felt right,” said Kerns.

Besides baseball, Kerns was a member of the golf team and was an All-OVC second team selection his junior and senior seasons and honorable mention as a sophomore. He was all-district second team his senior season. In baseball, Kerns was an All-OVC selection last year as well as all-district.

Signing with the Golden Eagles allows Kerns to check the box on his list of goals.

“Obviously, I just completed one of my goals and that was playing baseball at the next level, and the other half of that is to get me through school,” said Kerns. “It baseball goes any further, it goes further. I just want to get a good job and provide for my family.”

Kerns plans to major in business management.