Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
FRANKFORT — For the past four years, Ethan Kunkel has played a vital role for Adena’s baseball program. For the next four years, he’ll look to do the same at Ohio Christian University.
Kunkel, the Warriors’ shortstop, signed to continue his academic and athletic careers at OCU Saturday morning on the university’s campus — putting an exclamation point on a tremendous high school career.
“I chose OCU because it’s a good fit for me. It’s a chance to further my relationship with God and continue playing baseball on a good team and a beautiful field,” Kunkel said. “The coaching staff is awesome. Coach [Michael] Blevins is a great guy and a great coach and I look forward to playing for him.”
Kunkel, who hit .286 alongside 13 RBIs and 16 runs scored while posting a 0.94 ERA on the mound this past spring, has always had a goal of playing at the next level. Now that he accomplished his first goal, he has more he wants to get to on the horizon.
“It means a lot to be able to play at the next level. But this is only the beginning for me. Greater things are coming,” Kunkel said.
In the classroom at OCU, Kunkel will be majoring in sports management and business while minoring in coaching and photography. On the diamond, he’ll be doing what he’s always done: coming through in clutch situations while playing clean defense.
“My best on-field trait is my ability to stay calm is high-stakes moments, and the ability to be clutch in those moments,” Kunkel said.
One of those said moments was back on May 15 in a home win against West. It’s a moment he still remembers.
“One play I remember most is our sectional game against Portsmouth West at our field,” Kunkel said. “It was 2-0 them in the bottom of the first. They put two on us quick. I was at bat with runners on second and third with two outs. I hit a double to tie it up and as I slid into second, there was a picture of me screaming on second.”
There will be many more opportunities just like that in Circleville … and he’ll have his family and friends near, who will continue to support him.
“All the support I’ve gotten from family and friends, and the village of Frankfort, has meant a tremendous amount to me,” he said. “I couldn’t have gotten here without them.”