Hard-working and thorough Jamestown lefty set to transition to ACC

Contact Reporterkholtzman@vagazette.com

North Carolina State snatched a commitment from pitcher Kent Klyman in the fall of 2014, well before his junior baseball season at Jamestown commenced.

The Wolfpack saw a big, physical left-hander, one whose skills have since been polished after leading the Eagles to the 4A semifinals in the spring.

"I think coming in the door, he's going to be more ready than they thought he was," Jamestown coach John Cole said.

Klyman is already on campus in Raleigh, taking summer courses and weightlifting with the Wolfpack, which gave up a ninth-inning lead in an elimination game before narrowly losing to College World Series-champion Coastal Carolina in regional play.

Amid the transition, the 2016 Virginia Gazette baseball Player of the Year said his focus will simply be on getting batters out, noting there will be much less room for error on the next level. Miss your spot in the college game, and the pitch might be taken deep.

Klyman credited Cole, the first-year coach, for helping him gain better command of his fastball that topped out at 90 mph in the state semifinal, along with developing his changeup.

The 6-foot-7 southpaw entered the semifinal loss to loaded Liberty Christian with a 9-0 record with 86 strikeouts in 59 innings and a 1.00 ERA.

"He's just a great competitor," Cole said. "He just does not let your team down. He's just going to compete through the game. What changed was his work ethic and attention to detail. That's when I think he really started to take off. He started to really develop his secondary pitches and he really started to command his fastball. When he put all of those things together, he was devastating."

Liberty Christian outlasted Jamestown 5-4, winning on a walk-off in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Klyman and company found peace with the loss, believing they had expended maximum effort after winning the Conference 18 championship over Lafayette and falling in the 4A East final to eventual state champion Hanover.

Among the highlights of a 22-3 season for the Eagles was a 4-2 win over rival Lafayette to send Jamestown into first place in the Bay Rivers District. Klyman led the way, throwing a five-hitter and striking out 14.

"It didn't work out (in states) for us, but I think as a whole, the season went pretty well," Klyman said. "We did a lot of stuff that Jamestown hadn't done before and I think it sets up good for the next couple of years for that program."

Holtzman can be reached by phone at 757-298-5830.

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