Kenny Bristow, Wasatch Wave
SONY DSC Kyle Kelly (center) signs his national letter of intent to play baseball at the College of Eastern Utah in the presence of his parents and coaches. From left to right, assistant coach Joe Mellen, father Pat Kelly, Kyle Kelly, mother Monica Kelly, head coach Mike Shoell.
HEBER CITY — Kyle Kelly, the versatile baseball player who has only spent one year at Wasatch High School, has decided to continue his education and playing career at the College of Eastern Utah in Price, Utah.
Kelly, who moved to Heber City from Port Townsend, Wash., with his family just last August, has made the most of his opportunity in his new town with a successful campaign as a pitcher and center fielder for the Wasps.
Wasatch head baseball coach Mike Shoell has seen a lot of hyped move-ins during his tenure at Wasatch, and he said Kelly has been one of the best. “This kid never once told me what he had done in Washington,” Shoell said while addressing a gathering of Kelly’s family and teammates in Wasatch's High's gym. “He just came out and played.”
And played he has. Kelly currently has a 5-2 record on the mound and has been stellar in his last two starts, throwing back-to-back one-run complete games. But his best work has been at the plate, where he has two home runs, five doubles and a triple.
The Washington state native is a hard-nosed player with the skills to do whatever it takes to win and never leaves a game with a clean uniform. By whatever means necessary, Kelly gets on base and has been a catalyst in Wasatch’s recent five-game winning streak where the Wasps have outscored their opponents 45-3.
“It was a little tough at first,” admitted the soft-spoken senior when talking about uprooting from his home with only one year of high school remaining. “We had been in Port Townsend for 12 years and my family wanted to make a change. It was pretty small there. I was at a 1A school, so the chance to come to a place this size was pretty exciting.”
Kelly played other sports while growing up but always considered baseball his sport. “I’ve always known I wanted to play baseball in college,” he said. “I never knew exactly how or where that would happen
but things have worked out pretty good.”
Wasatch is a tight-knit, family oriented community and Kelly had no trouble fitting right in. After his family got settled late last summer, Kelly’s father contacted Shoell and he was immediately put on the fall ball squad.
Within just a few games, the team knew it not only had a good ball player to add to its lineup, but a good teammate. “We saw right away he could play baseball at a high level,” said Shoell. “We have so many good kids in our program right now. It's just been great to have Kyle come in and do what he’s done for us."
Kelly's parents, Pat and Monica Kelly, who have embraced the Heber community, couldn’t be happier about their son’s success at Wasatch. “Since he was 9 or 10, we knew Kyle was pretty good at baseball,” said his father. “Making a big change like we did moving here was a concern, but we knew he was mature enough to handle it. We just made the call to Coach and said our boy wanted to play ball and here we are.”
Kelly’s mother is happy her son will be attending school close to their new home. “It will be good for us to attend their games, so we’re very happy about that,” said Mrs. Kelly.
“When you watch your son work so hard at his game against his older brother and to get to this point, it’s just really rewarding,” she added proudly.
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As far as Kyle and his Wasatch team are concerned, the top seed in Region 10 will be at stake when the Wasps take on Park City in a home-and-home series next week for all the marbles. “Signing with CEU is big, but I’m focused on winning region right now,” stated Kelly. “I have such great teammates. This day would not be possible without them.
"I want to win it all with these guys.”
Kenny Bristow is the staff sports writer for the Wasatch Wave and contributes to the Deseret News high school coverage for the Wasatch region. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. To contribute to DNews Preps for your area, enquire at 801.237.2143.