The Champion City Kings — the Springfield-based summer collegiate Prospect League baseball team — have plenty of new faces in their sixth season at Carleton Davidson Stadium.
It didn’t take long for one to make history.
On Tuesday, Kings catcher Bo Seccombe hit for the cycle, going 4-for-5 with four RBIs in a 11-7 victory over the West Virginia Miners. It was the first time in six seasons a Kings player had ever hit for the cycle.
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Seccombe, a Tallahassee, Fla. native, singled in the fourth and hit a grand slam in the sixth inning. He followed with a triple in the seventh inning and knew he had a chance for the cycle heading into his final at-bat in the ninth. Not one of his teammates talked to him about the cycle before he stepped into the batter’s box, he said.
“I got fortunate enough for it to all line up for me,” Seccombe said. “I was just looking for a pitch to hit and I got one. The second I hit it, I knew I got it because I was going to hold up at second.”
Through Wednesday’s games, Seccombe is hitting .412 with two home runs and a team-best eight RBIs. He came to Springfield by way of Faulker University, an NAIA school in Montgomery, Ala. He played under Kings manager John Jeanes last fall with the Waynesboro Generals in The Valley League.
“We’ve got a really special squad so far,” Seccombe said. “Everybody’s personalities are jelling well. I think we’ve got something really special here.”
He’s been impressed with Springfield so far, especially the Kings booster club.
“They’re taking care of us,” Seccombe said. “There’s not much more you can ask for.”
Northeastern High School grad Ginger Fulton is Kings new general manager, replacing longtime GM Rick White, who now serves as the field manager for the Normal, Ill. franchise.
Fulton played college golf at Ohio State University and pursued pro golf for about 18 years, playing on mini tours throughout the country.
“I couldn’t make enough putts to make the tour,” Fulton said.
She later became a golf pro in Cincinnati before starting the women’s golf program at Xavier University. She later worked in college athletics administration at both Seton Hall and the Patriot League conference office before returning to Springfield last summer.
When the job became available, Fulton was quick to join the team.
“My goal here is to put a foundation in place from an administrative standpoint and grow things from there,” Fulton said. “We have decide what it is we want to be, put those things in place and start building it brick-by-brick. That’s what we’re doing here.”
The Kings will host Fireworks Night tonight and Aug. 5, the home finale. They’ll host several other theme nights throughout the season, she said.
She’s been encouraged by the community’s support.
“It’s a wonderful thing for Springfield,” Fulton said.
New field manager
The Kings new field manager is Jeanes, who currently serves as an assistant coach at Middle Georgia State University.
He previously played and coached for the Ohio Warhawks, a summer high school baseball team based in Springfield. Last season, he coached the Waynesboro (Va.) Generals of the The Valley League.
When his former Warhawks coach Ron Slusher called him about coming back to Springfield with the Kings, he couldn’t turn it down.
“I cut my teeth in Springfield,” Jeanes said. “I was blessed with an opportunity. I’m fired up to be here and hopefully we can give the people in Springfield something to be happy about.”
He’s joined on the staff by assistant coaches Gavin Murphy and Mark Lucas.
The team has some characters and a good mix of local and out-of-state players, he said.
“They’re pretty loose and fun like I hope I am,” Jeanes said. “It’s a great start, but this thing can go south in a hurry or it can go north in a hurry.”
The Kings are 5-1 this season, including a 7-4 victory over the West Virginia Miners on Wednesday night. They play at home Friday night before heading out on a five-game road trip, including two games at Lafayette (Ind.), two games at Chillicothe and another game at Lafayette.
They return home on June 14 and 15 against Normal, Ill., then host Dupage on June 18 and Danville on June 19.