Baldwin Wallace junior Kyle Chontos has added some pop to the middle of the Yellow Jackets' batting order.


BEREA, Ohio -- Baldwin Wallace junior All-American first baseman Kyle Chontos is a force to be reckoned with in the middle of the Yellow Jackets' batting order.

Chontos entered the weekend leading the team with a .380 batting average, 18 doubles, five home runs and 49 runs batted in for a Yellow Jackets squad who is participating in the NCAA Division III College World Series for the first time in school history.

"He's really good," Yellow Jackets coach Brian Harrison said. "He walks into the park and everybody knows who Kyle Chontos is. Guys pitch around him. Guys fear him. One of the coaches in our conference said we have a man in the middle of our order, and we're really happy he's on our side.

"He just stays within what he can do well, and I know it sounds easy, but that's hard to do. He just knows what type of hitter he is, and he does that very well. He's really hard to pitch to. For pitchers, he's a hard out. He's created so many situations for us this year. It's just fun to watch him play."

Chontos was quick to credit his success to Mark Zimmerman and Brad Gugliotta, who hit in front of him in the batting order, have identical .379 batting averages and have combined to draw 33 walks.

"I'm always hitting with guys on," Chontos said. "Brad and Mark do a good job of getting on in front of me, and when there's guys on, they've got to throw fastballs. I'm ready to hit fastballs. I get a lot of hits that way because I'm ready to hit and dialed in looking for that first fastball."

Zimmerman added, "He's been great the last few weeks of the regular season. He really carried us going into the OAC Tournament. It's easy on me. I'm hitting in front of him, so I see good pitches."

While Chontos has power in his bat, he is also a very disciplined hitter. He has drawn 22 walks and been hit by five other pitches, and struck out just 18 times in 187 at-bats. That is the second-fewest strikeouts of any Yellow Jacket with at least 25 starts and 30 games played this season.

"It's all about your one thought, the approach that you have to have," Chontos said. "You go up with an approach, whether you're going to hit the ball, stay late and hit the ball to left field or pull it. It's what you're telling yourself to do each time. Each at-bat is different with every approach that you have.

"You've got to be mentally tough up there. If you miss a pitch or foul one off that you know you should've had, you've got to wipe it away, forget about it, and just dial in for the next one, battle until they make a mistake and hit his mistake."

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