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Baseball's still Killian's focus

Bill Beckner Jr.
| Thursday, May 5, 2011

Growing up, Joe Killian seemed to hit a home run in every little league game. When he was 12, he homered four times in one game.

The Springdale junior third baseman appears to have a college future in baseball, although he could have the option to go long in one of the other sports he plays. Killian has every intention of playing college baseball, but football remains an option.

"That's the idea as of now," he said. "I have wanted to play baseball in college since little league."

Killian said Coastal Carolina, Purdue and Mercyhurst have shown baseball interest. But he has heard from Holy Cross, William and Mary, Lehigh and Gettysburg, among others, for his football success.

"Joe has a lot of ability," Springdale football coach Chuck Wagner said. "Schools are interested in his skills as a quarterback, but he can play defense, too. He looks like he is set on baseball, but we want him to keep his options open."

Killian started at quarterback last season and guided the Dynamos to their ninth consecutive playoff appearance, an Alle-Kiski Valley record. Killian, 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds, rushed for 99 yards in a WPIAL semifinal loss to run-stuffing Clairton.

"If something happens where I am injured and it hampers my baseball ability, maybe then I can think about football," he said. "Other than that, I doubt it."

One of the better hitters in the A-K Valley since he was a freshman, Killian moved to fourth in the order after hitting third early this season. He is hitting .471 with a team-best 16 RBI for the Dynamos (5-5, 3-5 Section 4-A), who are in the chase for a playoff berth. He also has 12 runs, a triple and five doubles.

"As a hitter, Joe goes after the ball like nobody else," first-year baseball coach Randy Eaton said. "He is a legitimate hitter. And when he hits the ball, he hits it hard."

With limited exposure during the high school season, Killian plans to attend showcases, including the "Live the Dream" camp Aug. 6-7 in Fort Myers, Fla. where he'll get to work out in front of Division I coaches. He also plans to play for the Springdale American Legion team and compete in a wooden bat league in Ohio.

"I am looking toward some more letters after this summer," Killian said. "I hope to know where I am going by the winter."

Eaton is Springdale's third coach in three years. Killian said he has been able to draw from each, including WPIAL-championship winning Dan Pschirer two years ago and Jamie Howell last year.

"They all have different opinions on technique and recruiting," Killian said. "(Pschirer) was a great guy to talk to about baseball stuff and I knew him for a while, but he had some family things to take care of. (Howell) used to coach at Penn State Beaver, so you got the perspective from someone who coached in college. And (Eaton) played at Slippery Rock. I like Coach Eaton; I think he's going to be around for a while."

Killian is a near-straight-A student, so getting accepted to schools shouldn't be an issue.

"That's the important thing," he said. "If it comes down to me or another kid and we have equal talent, a school might take me because I have better grades."

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