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Kings catcher heating up at plate

For Brent Hermanussen, finding his power swing is like fishing, his favorite pastime when not catching for the Champion City Kings.

He never knows when he’ll hook a big one. While he’s still waiting for that trophy catch around Springfield’s fishing holes, he leads the Kings with a modest two home runs. And Hermanussen gladly claims both blasts.

“Of course I’d like to add on to that, but you can’t complain,” said Hermanusssen, a 6-foot-3, 220-pound junior-to-be at New Mexico State. “In the past I haven’t been a power hitter. Recently that’s how it’s been shaking out. I’m not mad to try and fill that role.”

Hermanussen had been one of the Kings’ hottest hitters entering Tuesday’s night’s game. He was 6-for-13 in his last four games with three doubles. He leads Champion City with those two home runs, 14 RBIs and is third with a .267 batting average that’s steadily climbed from .237 on July 4.

Though summer wooden bat league baseball is played in a more relaxed atmosphere, the experience should benefit Hermanussen when he returns to the Aggies.

“Much more laid back. But that’s outside the lines,” Hermanussen said. “Once you get inside the lines it’s time to go. We’ve had our mental lapses, and I know I have, but you try to minimize those. The reps in the summer are really important because the fall is basically the tryout for college. Especially after taking a redshirt year I need all the reps I can get.”

Hermanussen has served as the Kings’ primary backstop. He’ll start to share more time with Cedarville University and Northwestern High School grad Jaden Cleland as he returns from an ankle injury.

His hitting and defense earned Hermanussen a spot on the East team in the Prospect League’s All-Star game on July 8, along with teammates Jake Bennett (outfield), Chris Perkovich (infield) and Ryan Shockey (pitcher). Hermanussen went 0-for-2 but had an RBI on a sacrifice fly in the East’s 9-2 win.

Being a catcher doesn’t automatically give Hermanussen an advantage at the plate. He knows what he would call in a certain count and situation, but tries not to get inside the opposing catcher’s head.

“To me it’s a completely different view and mindset. I’ve tried to use that but I just end up confusing myself,” he said, laughing. “Just keep a clear mind. If I start thinking, that’s when I start getting out. Hitting’s always been my struggle, but this summer I’ve focused more on my hitting. … I like to hit fastballs and luckily the pitchers have made a few mistakes that I’ve been able to hit.”

Including those two home runs.

“Usually you can tell they have a chance,” Hermanussen said. “I haven’t had enough in my lifetime to know they’re gone. Yes, it’s surprising for me.”

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