Kenton Ridge High School graduate and Cedarville University junior Noah Schleinitz throws a pitch for the Champion City Kings during a game against the West Virginia Miners earlier this season. The Kings are 10-7 through June 21. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY MICHAEL COOPER

Kenton Ridge grad Schleinitz back with Kings in new role

Noah Schleinitz is no stranger to the Champion City Kings.

The Kenton Ridge High School graduate and Springfield native spent a few summers working for the team, including chaperoning the team’s mascot Fastpaw.

“Playing for the Kings is definitely better, but it was an experience,” Schleinitz said. “I love being around baseball whether I’m playing or not. It was good to be around it. I enjoyed it.”

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Now, he’s taking the mound for Springfield’s collegiate wooden bat summer baseball team.

The Kenton Ridge graduate and Cedarville University junior is a starting pitcher for the Kings this summer. He’s 0-1 with a 5.55 earned run average in four starts for Champion City (10-7).

“I don’t think I’ve pitching as well as I think I can, but there’s a lot of season left,” Schleinitz said. “I have a lot of room to improve. I’m excited to see where it goes.”

Schleinitz grew up playing for the Springfield Heat and Springfield Stingers, as well as the Dayton Classics. As a high school player, Schleinitz set several goals, including eventually playing for his hometown summer college team.

He got the call last winter.

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“I felt like it was a chance I could take to go and try to further my abilities and take them to the Kings,” Schleinitz said. “When they asked me to play for them, I was super excited. It’s a hometown thing. It’s really exciting to be around these guys and the culture they create. It’s a really good program, too.”

During his sophomore season at Cedarville, Schleinitz primarily worked out of the bullpen, appearing in 18 games with a 1-4 record and a 4.78 earned run average. He converted a team-best six saves for the Yellow Jackets (14-32).

“We have an up-and-coming program,” he said. “We’re kind of young. We had a lot of freshmen and sophomores incorporated into the lineup this year. We still have some kinks to work out, but I think this next season it’s going to be exciting to watch us play.”

The community support has been fantastic, Schleinitz said. He’s had several friends already texted him about coming to games, he said. He’s also signed as many autographs as possible, especially for the young fans.

“It’s almost a surreal experience because you feel like you’re actually a professional player,” Schleinitz said. “The community cares a lot about baseball. I’m glad to be in this community with these guys.”

He also hopes to get some exposure from pro scouts, as well as share his faith with his teammates.

“The overall goal is to have fun and enjoy time with these guys,” Schleinitz said.

Rain, rain go away: The Kings have already had four games postponed due to inclement weather.

After a scheduled off day on June 17, the Kings were postponed due to rain on both the 18th and 19th. They were off again on June 20 before heading to Normal, Ill. for a doubleheader on Friday night. Champion City won the first game 7-4, but lost the shortened second game 7-2.

Division logjam: Entering Saturday’s games, the Kings were sitting fourth in the stacked Prospect League East Division at 10-7. Three other teams have more than 10 wins, including the Danville Dans (12-5), the Lafayette Aviators (12-6) and the Chillicothe Paints (12-7).

The West Division has just one team with 10 or more wins, first-place Cape Girardeau (Mo.) Catfish (10-6).

Upcoming schedule: The Kings return home on Tuesday and Wednesday for back-to-back games against the streaking Chillicothe Paints, who won their 10th straight game on Friday.

They’ll also host West Virginia for a three-game series from June 28 through 30.

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