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Central star picks Kent State as part of baseball future

Hunter Klotz

MARTINSBURG — Hunter Klotz wears many hats at Central High School representing the Scarlet Dragons in football, basketball, fishing and baseball, but Wednesday at the Bistro at the Village Green, Klotz decided which cap he’ll be wearing in the future.

The multi-talented senior signed to play baseball at Division I Kent State, a school he’s been verbally committed to for nearly two years.

“I verbally committed at the end of my sophomore year, because it felt like home,” Klotz said. “The coaching staff there has been great. They have a great baseball program. It’s a real good baseball school, and they win a lot. Hopefully, I’m going to the big dance someday.”

Klotz most recently helped Central win the District 6 Class 3A football championship and finished the season with 21 catches for 381 yards and six touchdowns. He’s now preparing for basketball season before one more season on the diamond with his Scarlet Dragon teammates.

“He’s one of a kind,” Central baseball coach A.J. Hoenstine said. “Time flies. I remember him as a young kid playing. He’s very talented, but his leadership qualities and how exceptional of a kid he is stand out. He plays the game even keel all the time. He doesn’t feel pressure. Kent State is getting a great baseball player.”

Hoenstine, Klotz and Central missed out on the high school baseball season this past spring when all PIAA sports were wiped out by the coronavirus pandemic. But Klotz, who also plays AAU baseball with Flood City Elite, has big goals for this spring.

“We had high hopes last year,” Klotz said. “This year, we have so many good kids. We have kids in the lower grades that are just crazy good. It’s really something I’m looking forward to, and I have one goal and that’s a state championship. We have to make it through districts and everything first, but that’s something we really think we can do. Ever since watching Central win a state championship when I was in eighth grade, it’s been something I have wanted to experience. I’m really looking forward to this season.”

Hoenstine said Klotz’s talent isn’t the only reason he’ll be valuable to Kent State.

“He’s so good defensively, and our pitchers have confidence in him,” Hoenstine said. “He’s so selfless, and it helps when one of your best players is also your hardest worker. The other guys see that, feed off of that and take on his mentality.”

Klotz said he’s stayed in close contact with his recruiting class and that they are all hoping to have an immediate impact.

“I’ll be competing for a spot as a freshman. With the smaller recruiting classes, I think I have a good chance to get there and play some baseball,” Klotz said. “I’m going to be a catcher there, so I’m excited to get there and get to know their pitching staff. We have a really good recruiting class, and I want to be a key guy for them.”

And when he isn’t in class or playing and training for baseball, Klotz, who has a pair of top-10 finishes in the Student Angler Federation High School Fishing World Finals and National Championship bass fishing event to his credit, plans on visiting some of Ohio’s best lakes.

“If I wasn’t playing baseball, I would be fishing,” Klotz said. “But I won’t just be playing baseball. I’ll be hunting and fishing. I have fished in Ohio before and didn’t do too well, so I need to get some revenge.”

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