Seymour senior outfielder brings skills, leadership to program

Michael Knecht has played baseball since an early age, and he says there is a lot of things he enjoys about the game.

“I enjoy the atmosphere of it,” the Seymour High School outfielder said. “I enjoy the offensive side because one of the hardest things you can do is hit a baseball, and it makes it challenging. I like the challenge.”

Knecht began his baseball career by playing in a ‘coach-pitch league.’

“It worked up to making a travel team here in Seymour, traveling around to close cities,” he said. “Then I went to the middle school and played there and now high school.

“Last season I started the season in left field, then I moved over to right toward the middle of the season and I’ve been there quite a while.”

Knecht said he works closely with center-fielder A.J .Boshears when on communication.

“If a ball is coming to us we make sure to talk to each other like ‘back’ or ‘in,’” he said. “We always tell each other if you have to lay out, ‘lay out’ to make a play, or we say ‘I’ve got your back.’

“I’ve gotten into a lot of situations this year with (fly balls into short right field), talking with R.J. (Kleber) when he’s at second base with those little bloop shots. It’s the outfielder’s job to get into that ball and catch that first. If you know you can catch it you’ve got to call him off so you don’t run into each other.

“I love right field. I love those shots that look like base hits but I can get in there and make a play and get an out, and get the throw in and hit the cutoff.”

Right field is the ‘sun field,’ at American Legion Field.

“Right before the pitch I’ve been blocking the sun out,” Knecht siad. “That ball gets right in there and you can’t see it. You’ve got to move around, move your glove and try get that ball.”

At the plate, Knecht works as a contact hitter.

“My main focus is not to try to swing to kill the ball, but to get the ball in play, use my speed to get on,” Knecht said. “I’ve been around the No. 5 or 6 hole. A lot of the guys early in the lineup are getting on, so I get a lot of chances to hit those guys in.

“Most of the time this year I’ve seen fastball on the first pitch. I’m the type of hitter that I don’t mind getting a strike on me so if they’re going to throw that first pitch fastball I’m going to try to jump all over it.”

He said he likes pitches belt high in the middle of the plate, and has made adjustments to other pitches.

“I’ve been focusing on, working on other pitches, high or low,” Knecht said. “This year that is something I’ve really focused on. In the past I’ve had trouble with other pitches.

“I change my strike zone every game because the umpire is going to call it differently. If he’s calling it outside that just means my strike zone is widened up on the outside corner. So basically, when I’m in the on deck circle I’m watching every pitch, watching the breaking balls, just trying to get my timing and strike zone down.”

The senior has enjoyed attending SHS.

“I love it so much that it makes me want to pursue a secondary education degree at Franklin College and be able to come back and teach here some day,” Knecht said. “The bus rides are awesome, especially after a win coming back. Everybody is talking, joking around having fun. It’s a good experience. My education here is really going to help me in college. I’ll remember all those fun times where we’re all performing well, coming in, being excited for each other.

“We (seniors) have really created a bond and now we’re passing that down and making a culture here with Seymour baseball.”

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”Knecht file” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

Name: Michael Knecht

School: Seymour High School

Parents: Perry and Shirley Knecht

Sports: baseball 4 years, football 1 year

Organizations: National Honor Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, D.A.R.E. Role Model

Plans after high school: attend Franklin College, study secondary education, play baseball

Favorite food: meatloaf and potatoes

Favorite TV show: The Walking Dead

Favorite musician: Dr. Dre

Favorite movie: Star Wars

Favorite teams: St. Louis Cardinals, Washington Redskins