There’s no place Kawambee Moss would rather be than the city that helped him flourish.
When the Champion City Kings came calling last winter, it was a no-brainer for Moss to return to his hometown.
“I grew up playing with and competing against some of these guys,” Moss said. “Being able to come and jell with these guys was the best opportunity for me.”
The Springfield High School graduate and Bethel College senior-to-be is spending his summer playing for the Kings, a summer collegiate baseball team in the 12-team Prospect League.
He’s one of several Clark County natives on the Kings roster this summer, including Kenton Ridge grad Noah Schleinitz and Southeastern grad Wes Earles.
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Through Thursday’s games, Moss is hitting .176 in five appearances for the Kings this summer.
“I’m hitting the ball hard, just hitting it right at people,” he said. “That’s one of those things about baseball. You’ve just gotta keep playing. You can’t dwell on the stats. As long as we win the game, I’m happy.”
Moss was recently named a National Christian College Athletic Association Second Team All-American after hitting a team-best .372 with 21 RBIs and nine doubles. He also went 20-for-21 on stolen base attempts. He’s the first baseball player since 2010 to be named an NCCAA All-American for Bethel, an NAIA school in Mishawaka, Ind.
He was surprised by the selection, especially after being named honorable mention in the Crossroads League.
“I’m grateful,” Moss said.
Moss spent his first two years at Kalamazoo Community College (Mich.) and just completed his first year at Bethel College, which recruited him hard from the beginning, he said.
“They knew my game and liked my game,” Moss said. “They said if I came and bought in, we’ll work twice as hard as you are.”
Last summer, he played for the Kalamazoo Growlers of the Northwoods League, but couldn’t turn down the opportunity to play for the Kings, who were founded in 2014 when he just starting high school.
“We watched these guys growing up,” Moss said. “To be able to be one of these guys with this uniform on, it’s a great accomplishment.”
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The goal this summer is to improve his game and hopefully show off his tools to pro scouts.
“I want to show my tools, show them I can do a little bit of everything and try to grow,” Moss said. “I want to learn about my weaknesses and figure out what I’ve got to work on heading into next season.”
Kings manager John Jeanes described Moss with just two words: “electric smile.”
“He’s a joy to be around. He plays every day, plays hard, stays upbeat,” Jeanes said.
“Being a hometown kid, this is something he’s got a chance to remember forever.”
Moss has also been a big contributor in the clubhouse, Jeanes said. He’s done a great job keeping his teammates loose, especially the younger players playing with wooden bats for the first time.
“He’s an older guy and a local guy who can help show some of these guys around,” Jeanes said. “He’s a joy. I can’t say enough positives about him.”
Moss also hopes to give back to the community while he’s home. He recently volunteered at the James Cooper Bigger than Basketball camp at Emmanuel Christian Academy and hopes to have a few other events with DreamVision, a local non-profit organization dedicated to preparing youths for their future goals. He’s also planning on signing a lot of autographs this summer.
“I just want to reach as many kids as possible,” Moss said. “They can meet me, meet the guys. That’s an experience we really didn’t get to have as kids. I want them to understand that if you put in the work, you can get here.”
UPCOMING HOME GAMES
June 14: vs. Normal, Ill., 6:35 p.m.
June 15: vs. Normal, Ill., 6:35 p.m.
June 18: vs. Dupage, 6:35 p.m.
June 19: vs. Danville, 6:35 p.m.
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