Lyons outfielder Josh Kuntz admits he didn’t get nearly as much playing time as he would’ve liked as a junior this spring.
It was a new experience, but he didn’t let it get in his head.
“I’ve been playing baseball since I was 7 or 8 and before this past spring, I never sat out a baseball game,” Kuntz said. “It was difficult, but I learned what it’s like to be on that side of the game. You have to encourage and support your teammates and keep working hard.”
When it came to the summer season, Kuntz believes he did enough to earn a starting position his final season.
During the Phil Lawler Classic Elite Eight last week, he reached base four times, including an RBI double, in the Lions’ state quarterfinal win over Minooka. Lyons eventually advanced to the state championship game before losing to St. Rita at Illinois Benedictine.
“I think I showed the coaches what I can do,” Kuntz said. “I’m looking forward to working hard in the offseason to keep getting faster and stronger. I want to help the team mesh, have fun and win a lot of games.”
His speed has always been a major part of Kuntz’s game.
“I did a lot of bunting and stealing this summer,” Kuntz said. “Speed is what I focus on the entire game. It helps me tracking down fly balls in the outfield. You also don’t need to hit doubles when you can get on base with a hit or bunt and steal to put yourself in scoring position.”
Incoming junior John Heilenbach saw first-hand the skills Kuntz will bring to the Lions next spring.
“Josh is very quick and fast on the base paths,” Heilenbach said. “He’s good defensively and offensively. We’re glad we have him because he helps us a lot.”
Kuntz is impressed by the juniors who will be joining varsity, including third baseman and pitcher Heilenbach, who figures to be a key newcomer for the Lions.
John Heilenbach will be joining his cousin Sam Heilenbach on the team in the spring,. His brother Jimmy Heilenbach and cousin Steve Heilenbach previously played in the program.