breaking news

Clark County commissioners approve store rezoning despite objections

Hot-hitting Kings’ shortstop adjusting at the plate

Two weeks into their first season, the Champion City Kings are starting to get comfortable as the newest team in the Prospect League.

Manager Brett Neffendorf said he’s still tweaking the infield to find the best defensive lineup. The offense is starting to come around as some players take wood bats to the plate for the first time.

As for shortstop Chris Perkovich, he’s already adjusted. Minor changes to his swing had driven his batting average up to .394 entering Thursday night’s game at Lorain County. The junior from Saginaw Valley State is 9-for-13 his last five games. He entered June hitting .188.

“He’s done a lot of work in the dorms and everywhere else to make some minor adjustments to his swing,” Kings hitting coach Matt Calhoun said. “He hasn’t missed his fastballs that a lot of guys have been fouling off early in the season. He’s been hitting fastballs on fastball counts. He’s been on fire.”

Perkovich and outfielder Jake Bennett have powered the Kings early. Bennett had been hitting .400 or better since June 2, until an 0-4 night Wednesday dropped his average to .372 and snapped a seven-game hitting streak.

Perkovich, who took a seven-game hitting streak into Thursday’s game, and Bennett rank third and fourth in the Prospect League in batting average.

“Our big thing is we have to find some guys to protect Jake Bennett,” Neffendorf said. “Jake can hit in that No. 3 hole, but if you don’t have guys behind him they’ll pitch around him. Chris Perkovich, putting him in the 5-hole really helped.”

As a team the Kings are hitting .238, sixth in the league.

“I think guys are still getting adjusted to hitting with wood,” Calhoun said. “It’s not as forgiving as aluminum bats are. I think the guys on our team who have played with wood bats throughout their college seasons are definitely making better contact. The ball is coming off their bat a little bit harder, just because they’ve played with them.”

Roster moves: The Kings added a pair of left-handed hitting outfielders during a four-game road trip to West Virginia and Lorain County. Sophomore Alex Fife from Western Nevada College and junior Daniel Jewett from the University of Nebraska Omaha will be with the team in Springfield. Outfielder Anthony El Chibani is no longer with the team.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Sports

Dragons whitewash Whitecaps, next month’s playoff foe
Dragons whitewash Whitecaps, next month’s playoff foe

The West Michigan Whitecaps (36-1, 81-37) are enjoying one of the best seasons of any pro baseball team in 2017, and they’ll be waiting for the Dragons in the first round of the Midwest League playoffs in September. After clinching a wild card berth in the first half, the Dragons have stumbled through the second half (16-36, 57-65) with the league&rsquo...
Legendary Reds scout Gene Bennett dead at 89
Legendary Reds scout Gene Bennett dead at 89

Gene Bennett, the legendary scout who urged the Cincinnati Reds to draft Derek Jeter only to have his pleas fall on deaf ears, died Wednesday in Portsmouth, Ohio at 89. “Gene was one of the game’s great scouts,” Reds owner Bob Castellini said. “He loved baseball, loved his team and forever changed the way we looked for talented...
HS Results 8/16: Green leads Southeastern in tri-match

Avery Green’s 34 helped carry Southeastern in a boys golf tri-match at Locust Hills on Wednesday. Southeastern shot a 162, Cedarville 182 and Catholic Central 197. Green was the medalist, with Adam Wood of Cedarville getting runner-up at 40. Noah Myers (Cedarville) and Tray Thompson (Southeastern) each added a 41 for their teams. Boys Golf Fairmont...
Bengals rookie reluctant to talk, eager to shine
Bengals rookie reluctant to talk, eager to shine

There are two nights during Jordan Willis’ brief NFL career that illustrate who he is as a person. The first was April 28, the day the Cincinnati Bengals drafted Willis in the third round out of Kansas State. While other prospective picks were partying with friends and family while watching the draft on television, Willis was sitting alone in...
Springfield North football: Top 7 players in Panthers history
Springfield North football: Top 7 players in Panthers history

As rivalries go, Springfield North and South had it going on as good as any in the state for its time in the spotlight. Football games at Evans Stadium on Clifton Avenue were a must-see event. Growing up to be a celebrated Panther or Wildcat was a handed-down and expected tradition. North always seemed to be in catch-up mode to South in football, especially...
More Stories