New Franklin senior Tyler Hull knew right away that Kansas City Kansas Community College was the perfect fit for him.
As a three-year standout for the Bulldogs, Hull said he liked KCKCC not just because it was a perfect fit but the baseball facilities were also second to none.
“I have also been given the opportunity to be in the starting pitching rotation my freshmen year,” Hull said.
New Franklin baseball coach Erich Gerding, who has coached Hull all three seasons, said it’s a great deal for Tyler personally.
“It’s a program where he is going to have a chance to play,” Gerding said. “He looked around quite a bit but he likes it and I think he is going to fit in there and I think he is going to have a chance to play and pitch right away. It’s a great deal for us as well. A lot of hard work by him went into this. His parents, his teammates and a lot of people behind the scenes have worked hard to get him there, too.”
While playing both shortstop and pitcher for New Franklin, Hull has been the one constant for the Bulldogs. On the mound, the right-handed hurler has posted a record of 21-15 with an ERA of 2.03 in three years. He also has 311 strikeouts in 203 1/3 innings while giving up 162 runs on 134 hits and 106 walks. As for his hitting, Hull has batted anywhere second through fifth in the lineup and collected 125 hits in 319 at-bats with 88 singles, 26 doubles, three triples, six home runs and 104 RBIs for an average of .392. He also has an on-base percentage of .495 and a slugging percentage of .542.
Gerding said he can still remember Hull’s first practice his freshmen year.
“Coach Triebsch and I immediately looked to each other and said this kid is pretty darn good,” Gerding said. “We immediately made plans to put him in the middle of the lineup and be a major cog in our starting pitching rotation and he kind of broke out there as a freshman in that district game. Even though he lost a really tough game he pitched much older than his years. He has been a great example for all the kids to look at. He shows up all the time with a great attitude, working hard and always wanting to get better. He just exemplifies what you want as a coach and a player.”
Gerding also sees more than just velocity with Hull’s pitching. He said while he throws hard, he also has great command of his secondary pitches which really separate him from the pack and his competitive drive on the mound, which is unbelievable.
“His facial expressions and body language doesn’t change,” Gerding said. “He is out there to compete and do his job and to win a game for his team. It’s a rare combination when you combine talent with the actual want to and then the emotional points of the game.”
While earning about every accolade imaginable in three years at New Franklin, Hull said the highlight thus far in his career as a team would be pitching a state quarterfinal game last year. As far as individual highlight, he said it has to be the Salisbury game last year.
Of course Hull said there is plenty of room for improvement. Although Hull will strictly be a pitcher in college, and that suits him fine, he said he still needs to work on his arm stamina to be able to pitch 7-9 innings with the velocity that is needed.
As far as short-term goals, Hull said he wants to attain all personal and team goals through his education and baseball. “I also want to compete and challenge hitters, and then I want to learn how to get out of big innings at the college level,” Hull said.
Hull also has big plans for the future. He said he wants to be a part of a starting rotation for a Division I college.
“I want to work hard to achieve all personal and team goals to prepare myself for life outside of baseball or hopefully achieving my dream of being drafted,” Hull said.
Although Hull wound up choosing KCKCC, he said Jefferson County, Mineral Area and Longview were other schools that showed an interest.
As far as the biggest influence on him playing baseball, Hull said his first year playing Little League in New Franklin his dad encouraged him to pitch.
With only the spring season left at New Franklin, Hull said he will miss being able to play with all of his high school friends and all the local support he has had the last-three years.