Kiker Remains One Of The Nation's Top Lefties

Kasey Kiker was just fifteen-years old and was traveling with his parents to a variety of showcases. It was then, realizing that he was playing in front of large audiences and baseball scouts, that he recognized he had the potential be play in professional baseball. A few years past that moment, Kiker could be just six months away from making that dream a reality.

"It started even before the showcases," Kiker said of when he fell in love with the game of baseball. "I was always running around the house and when I was five-years old I began playing the game, and it just always came natural to me."

The left-handed pitcher was a dominating presence on the mound during his junior season of high school, as he pitched for the top high school team in the nation - Russell County. Kiker went 12-1 with a 0.52 ERA, and struck out 173 batters in ninety-four innings of work, while issuing just twenty-four walks and forty-one hits.

The starting staff for Russell County set state records with an ERA of 0.75, and a total of 429 strikeouts last season. Another top prep player, Cory Rasmus, who went 11-0 with an ERA of 0.50 in 70 innings, led the staff.

"Our goal as a team is to win another State Championship, but also grow as players," Kiker said.

Kiker was just one of two sophomores that played on the Team USA Youth National Team in August 2003, and the southpaw helped lead the team to a gold medal at the World Youth Championships in Taiwan, when he earned a save in the gold-medal game, pitching a scoreless seventh inning.

"That was a great experience for me," said the left-hander. "I was away from home for six weeks and I grew up a lot."

Kiker cited that the experience not only matured him as a player, but as a person. The Gold Medal game was in front of 20,000 Chinese Taipei fans that were very raucous and loud. Kiker described the crowd as blowing blow horns and beating on drums.

"It's tough to remain calm in that environment, but that experience did help my nerves. I learned to channel my adrenaline, and is the biggest stage I have pitched in."

Kiker did not play much as a sophomore that season, going just 3-0 with forty strikeouts in just thirteen games, because of a right collarbone injury. Kiker suffered the injury in an ATV accident, but the injury hardly affected the pitcher after he finished his rehab.

In his freshman season, Kiker went 9-1 with an ERA of 0.99, and was the owner of two no-hitters.

Kiker is a three-pitch pitcher as he posses a hard fastball, along with a curveball and a changeup. Kiker can locate his 95 MPH well at times, and is not looking to add any other pitch to his repertoire at the moment.

"I am trying to just fine-tune my fastball a little and locate it consistently," said Kiker, who tries to model his game after three different pitchers. "I like Billy Wagner because he throws hard, the toughness of Mike Hampton, and the intimidation of Andy Pettite."

The southpaw has committed to South Alabama, a place that his uncle, Tim Lee played at. Kiker was also impressed with South Alabama's pitching coach, Ronnie Powell.

However, Kiker could be nabbed early in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft and begin his professional career, a place many scouts have viewed him pitching in since his early teenage years.

"I just want to work my rear end off, and hope for the best come draft time."


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