Senior Kai Bedell leads the baseball diamond
The crowd is quiet. A proud father occasionally yells, “Battle! Battle!” from the stands, and the final, game-making pitch is thrown from the mound as fans anxiously await the umpire’s official call. After four days, six games, 38 innings, 49 runs scored, and only seven runs given up, the ’Cats hurry to each other, high five, and walk off the field as the summer tournament champions. Senior Kai Bedell smiles proudly underneath his catcher’s gear. He has led his team to victory—one of his biggest achievements.
With three years of Varsity Baseball under his belt, Bedell has played through the lowest of seasons as well as League Champion seasons and is positively proud to be a Bearcat. His loyalty, friendliness, and leadership have made him a captain and teammate to look up to on the field and in the classroom.
“The people here are way cooler than at any other school. I mean, we’re the Bearcats; we kinda rock,” said Bedell, who has caught on Varsity since his sophomore year, but graduated to starting catcher his junior and senior years.
Close friend and teammate junior Jonathan Baldwin notices Bedell’s strength on the field as well as a part of the team.
“Catchers are arguably one of the most important players on the field. Kai is a great example of a trustworthy catcher as he makes little to no errors behind the plate. He’s also able to make people laugh and smile when they’re feeling down about the way that person might be playing,” said Baldwin, who played on AAA Mets Little League Team with Bedell around six years ago, where Bedell played third and Baldwin played first.
As a captain, he shows more than hours of practices and skill: his leadership is beyond compare.
“He handles our pitching staff. He calls the pitches. It’s the first time in probably my coaching career here that we’ve let the catcher call pitches, so it speaks to the confidence that we have in him to be able to do that, and I think he’s done a tremendous job. I think this might’ve been our lowest team ERA (earned run average) we’ve ever had,” said Government and Economics teacher, Derek Stroud, who has watched Bedell work hard and grow as a leader as well as a player over the years.
His people skills, undeniable humor, and work ethic make Bedell and all-around leader and will be hard to replace after he graduates, according to Stroud, who has coached varsity baseball for 16 seasons.
“He is compassionate and truly cares about the well-being of others… His passion for the sport shows both on and off the field. His drive, positive attitude, and good sportsmanship make him a great leader for his teammates… He is one of the most admirable people I know,” said close friend senior Chase Manske, who says that Bedell can light up a room with his country charm.
“Kai is going to be a customers’ clothes hanger salesman when he grows up,” Baldwin jokingly said about Bedell’s future plans.
Manske, however, believes that Bedell will one day be married with a family and have a master’s degree in business or sports.
“He will have a very successful career and most importantly, he will be happy,” Manske said.
As if ruling on the baseball field was not enough, Bedell excels in his academics; he scored a four on the AP Physics test as a junior, and will be attending California Polytechnic San Luis Obispo starting on Sept. 22, 2014 to earn either a sports business or agricultural business degree.
“In ten years I’ll have my own business, and I’ll be starting a family somewhere around the area,” Bedell said. He either wants to go into career marketing for a sports team or follow his father’s footsteps and manage ranches, which he has grown up with his whole life.
He has also been an active FFA (Future Farmers of America) member since 2010 as a freshman, where he has shown three heifers and earned $11,000 at the California Mid-State Fairs. He will be showing a fourth at this year’s fair as well.
Bedell’s passions have shaped his plans for the future, and his leadership in baseball has payed off as the team traveled to CIF and won the first round and the 2014 PAC 7 League Championship.