STOCKTON – Kevin Kramer tried his best to keep his head up as he walked off the Klein Family Field at the University of Pacific, with the digital scoreboard behind him reading perhaps the heartbreaker of the year for the junior shortstop and Turlock High baseball team on Tuesday night.
But Kramer is determined to return to this stage.
His Bulldogs had a stellar postseason run in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I South Tournament, though it ended in an 18-4 loss to St. Mary’s High in the championship game. And no one familiar with the Turlock baseball program can argue his importance among a roster full of stars.
Kramer finished the tournament with three home runs — two of them being lead-offs — and a collection of RBIs, stolen bases, doubles and triples. It all helped the Bulldogs to force a deciding second game against the Rams, who will play for the Section title today and Thursday against Elk Grove High.
In Tuesday’s first game, Kramer went 2-for-3 with a homer, a double and an RBI to help the Bulldogs to a 7-3 win. It was the kind of numbers he put up late in the season when he moved to lead-off hitter from the No. 3 position.
At first, he didn’t like the switch.
But he showcased in the last few games of the Central California Conference and in the postseason why he’s considered one of the best players in the Section, especially with the accolades that he carried around. He played for the USA Baseball U-16 Team last summer, in addition to having already committed to UCLA.
For this summer, he hopes to rejoin the national team. He’ll audition for the U-18 team — with the talent level more competitive — after being invited. His teammate, Vince Wheeland, will also participate in the try-out, which will take place in North Carolina later this month.
Kramer also has the NorCal traveling team, which will play various tournaments in California.
After that, he’ll return to a team that will have back a good chunk of this season’s starters.
And Kramer will be happy to help his team return to the Section‘s biggest stage.
To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.