Two Springfield natives are pursuing their dreams this summer as part of a collegiate summer baseball team’s record-breaking season – one on the field and the other in the press box.
Springfield High School graduate Kawambee Moss and Shawnee High School graduate Lukas Moore are both members of the Kalamazoo Growlers, a member of the 20-team Northwoods League.
Moss recently joined the team as an outfielder, while Moore is serving as the team’s play-by-play announcer.
In his first start on Friday, Moss went 1-for-3 with an RBI single in an 8-2 loss to the Green Bay Bullfrogs.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Moss said. “There’s a lot of great guys here. To have the opportunity to be one of those guys is always fun. Being an inner-city kid from Springfield, Ohio – a lot of guys had more ability and talent than me, but in our city getting caught up in the stuff other than sports is common. Being able to fulfill my dream and show kids that you can make it is a big goal of mine.”
Moore, a senior at Ohio University, was selected to be Kalamazoo’s play-by-play announcer for Northwoods League TV – a four-camera High-Definition production of each game – and the team’s free online radio coverage this summer.
Kalamazoo is currently second in the Northwoods League South Division at 35-21 – the team’s best season ever – and is nearing a playoff berth.
“It’s best season we’ve had in team history,” Moore said. “Everything has clicked on the field and off the field.”
The Growlers play 72 games in 78 days, Moore said. The team also recently hosted the All-Star game in front of 3,200 fans.
“In Kalamazoo, it’s a professional atmosphere, no doubt about it,” he said. “It’s about as close to professional as you can get without paying the players.”
Moore was updating the team’s online roster as part of public relations duties when he realized Moss had joined the club. They faced each other multiple times during their days playing ACME summer ball in Springfield.
“I knew the name, but I didn’t think it was him,” Moore said. “When I saw the 937 phone number, I knew immediately it was him.”
Before Moss’ first game last week, Moore welcomed him to the team on the field before the game.
“He really made me feel at home,” Moss said.
Moss played one season at Edison Community College after graduating from Springfield. After sitting out in 2017, Moss found his was to Kalamazoo Valley Community College, where he played for Growlers head coach Cody Piechocki.
Moss was named team MVP and earned third team all-conference honors this season, hitting .299 and leading the team in RBIs (40), triples (7) and stolen bases (26). He was asked to play the entire season, but couldn’t work his schedule around summer college courses.
“(Piechocki) gave me the opportunity after that and I just ran with it,” Moss said.
Moss saw action in his first game on Friday, during a 13-10 victory over the Green Bay Bullfrogs. Moss entered the game in the fifth inning and made two game-saving plays, throwing out a runner at the plate and making a diving catch in center field.
“He really saved the game in his first night here,” Moore said. “I’m excited to have another Springfield native here.”
Moss lost friend Jeff Wellington to gun violence when he was in high school. It inspired him to be a role model for other youth in Springfield. He’s working with friends Henry Alexander and Dorian Hunter on a project called DreamVision, a non-profit organization dedicated to preparing youths for their future goals.
“I know that’s what God called me to do,” Moss said. “I’m trying to reach as many kids as possible. I know I can’t reach all of them, but if I can just one, two or three kids, to me, that’s a win.”
Moore spent last summer with the Athens, Ohio-based Southern Ohio Copperheads of the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League.
He will serve as the voice of the Athens Bulldogs this year for WXTQ Power 105.5, calling both football and basketball games. He’ll also be one of the lead reporters for WOUB, covering the Ohio University Bobcats football team.
Moore set to graduate this spring and hopes to find a job as announcer for a baseball team or a university.
“The future is very wide open,” he said. “I try to keep myself covering as many sports as possible, as many ways as possible.”