Despite interest from Ohio University, Marshall and Duke, Stephen Krause was unlikely to be swayed in making his college decision.
“I fell in love with it from the first time I visited,” Krause said of Miami University in Oxford. “My sister (Lauren) was visiting there her senior year and I was a freshman. I saw the campus and it was beautiful. I didn’t really get to see the baseball facilities until my (personal) visit.”
Krause signed Wednesday in the media center at Wilmington High School to play baseball in college with Miami University.
“It’s a goal he set, probably when he was 12 or 13 (years old),” said father Paul Krause. “It’s just really nice to be here. In our minds, now, he sets new goals. The boy has worked extremely hard to get here.”
Krause is a slick fielding, hard-hitting shortstop and pitcher for the Hurricane baseball team. He settled in to that role comfortably as a freshman.
“I played football and basketball growing up,” he said. “Once I got to high school, I focused on baseball because I decided that’s where my love was and what I wanted to do.”
Rick Kneisel coached Krause his freshman and sophomore seasons at WHS before turning things over to Dusty James because of medical issues.
“The first time you see the young man come out on the baseball field, your thoughts are “Wow, this is a pretty big young man.’ When you see him on the field, how he handles himself with the bat, with the glove, with his arm, he has some God-given talent.”
It didn’t take Kneisel long to realize there was more to this talented baseball player than just baseball.
“When you find out what kind of kid he is … there is no ego, he wants to be the best he can be,” said Kneisel, who has coached baseball nearly 40 years. “He is the ideal player to coach. Beyond that, he is also a very good student. He is a kid who is never going to want to get in trouble. He takes pride in his classes and how he performs in the classroom. He is a true gift to be able to coach.”
Krause said the relationships and travel he had playing baseball in the summer helped make his decision to be a baseball player, despite having the size and athletic ability to play any of the three sports.
“He had a lot of fun playing football and basketball,” his father said. “But they cut into his time of getting better at baseball. The goal was go play Division I baseball. He had to give up some things he liked … again football and basketball were two of the things he like, but his true passion was baseball.”
Said Stephen, “I just love baseball so much that I decided to take that route. This is a big step in my next chapter in baseball, in life. I’m looking forward to being a RedHawk. It’s surreal. I can’t wait.”
Kneisel believes Krause has an opportunity to play baseball for a living.
“I’ve had the opportunity and privilege to coach and coach against some very spectacular players – Buster Posey, Nick Markakis, the Drew brothers (Stephen and JD), Jeff Francour – and Stephen is right there in that caliber with those types of kids who have made it to the bigs. He’s right there with that kind of talent.”
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @wnjsports