Shawnee grad Fultz starring for Champion City Kings

Shawnee High School graduate Patrick Fultz is starring for the Champion City Kings this summer. He's hitting a team-best .301, which ranks 14th in the 16-team Prospect League this summer. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY MICHAEL COOPER

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Shawnee High School graduate Patrick Fultz is starring for the Champion City Kings this summer. He's hitting a team-best .301, which ranks 14th in the 16-team Prospect League this summer. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY MICHAEL COOPER

SPRINGFIELD — A few weeks after graduating from Shawnee High School this spring, Patrick Fultz began wearing a different hometown uniform.

Fultz, a Wright State University signee, has been a key contributor for the Champion City Kings, a collegiate wooden-bat summer team based out of Springfield. He’s one of several Shawnee grads to play for the Kings in recent years, including Seth Gray and Ben Ross, who were both drafted by the Minnesota Twins.

In 48 games this season, Fultz is hitting a team-best .301 with 11 doubles, 27 RBIs and nine stolen bases. He currently ranks 14th in the 16-team league in batting average. The Kings will play their final home game of the season against the Chillicothe Paints at 6:35 p.m. Saturday night in Springfield.

“It’s great,” Fultz said of playing in Springfield this summer. “I definitely feel the support from all the fans. I look forward to playing every game here. It’s great. I love it.”

Fultz was the Central Buckeye Conference Kenton Trail Division Player of the Year and an All-Ohio first team selection for the Braves last spring. Instead of playing travel ball this summer, Fultz opted to play against collegiate competition.

“At first it was an adjustment,” he said, “but at the end of the day, we’re all good players. I know that I’m a good player. If my skills play, I don’t think age really matters.”

Fultz has typically played middle infield over the past few years, but has moved around to different spots with the Kings, including third base, first base and outfield.

“It’s the perfect experience going into college,” Fultz said. “That’s where my coaches wanted me to play. I think getting all this experience is only going to benefit me a lot.”

Fultz’s maturity and willingness to learn has helped him transition smoothly to the level of play in the Prospect League, said Kings manager Gavin Murphy.

“I love having him around,” Murphy said. “He does anything you ask him to do. I’m excited to see what his future holds at Wright State. The biggest thing is the work ethic. He’s got it. He wants to be better every day. As long as he continues that, continues to grow and become a more polished baseball player, the sky’s the limit for him.”

While he’s played all over the diamond, the key has been Fultz’s bat, Murphy said.

“The stick is gonna play,” Murphy said. “They’ll flip him a glove each day and try this one. He’s a great kid. I love having him around.”

Fultz had three RBIs as the Kings beat the Johnstown (Pa.) Mill Rats 10-6 on Thursday to keep their playoff hopes alive.

The Kings have won eight of their last 10 games and trail Johnstown by one game with two games to play in the Ohio River Valley Division second-half standings.

Entering Friday’s game, the Mill Rats were 14-12 in the second half, one ahead of the Kings (13-13). Johnstown also owns the playoff tiebreaker, claiming the head-to-head season series against Champion City.

The second-half winner will travel to first half winner Chillicothe for the Ohio River Valley Division championship game at a time to be determined on Sunday.

On Aug. 2, Shawnee basketball coach Chris McGuire threw out the first pitch to Fultz as part of Clark Shawnee Night at the stadium. Fultz was surprised to see so many of his former teachers there supporting him and the team.

“I didn’t realize all those people were coming,” Fultz said. “I knew Coach McGuire was coming. When I looked up in the stands and saw all of those teachers and staff members from growing up, it was really cool.”

Fultz was 10 years old when the Kings moved to Springfield in 2014 and quickly became a fan of the team. He’ll take the field in Springfield one more time on Saturday before heading to Wright State.

“I’ve always come to games and stuff, so playing here is awesome,” Fultz said. “I love the fans. The support is awesome. I know I’m the hometown kid, but they do a great job supporting the other guys. I love it. I’d love to come back here.”

SATURDAY’S GAME

Who: Chillicothe Paints at Champion City Kings

When: 6:35 p.m. Saturday

Where: Carleton Davidson Stadium

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