Cape senior Hunter Hiett to bring offense, versatility, strength to Redhawk baseball
Southeast Missourian file
The recent construction of a $400,000 indoor baseball facility at Capaha Park will certainly impact the current Southeast Missouri State baseball players in a positive manner. However, it has already benefitted the Redhawks from a recruiting standpoint.
“We were at a disadvantage because most (OVC teams) had a place to train,” fourth-year Redhawks coach Andy Sawyers said of his new facility recently. “But a place to train and a place that looks like this are two very different things.”
The benefits of having the new facility were realized last month when the Redhawks added seven new players who will join the program for the 2020-2021 academic year.
Among those signees was current Cape Central athlete Hunter Hiett.
“Hunter will be a utility guy for us,” Sawyers said of the Tigers’ catcher.
Sawyers envisions Hiett performing at catcher, first base or possibly even left field at the collegiate level.
Hiett is a three-time All-District player, as well as three-time All-SEMO Conference selection.
He was Cape’s team captain as a junior and participated on the 2020 PBR Missouri Futures Team.
“He is an offense-first type of guy,” Sawyers said. “He’s got a good swing. He’s got a feel for the barrel. He’s got present strength.
“He can impact the baseball. He’s a strong kid.”
Southeast has an abundance of catchers on their 2020 roster, including veterans Wade Stauss (redshirt sophomore) and Andrew Keck (sophomore). Sawyers also has incoming freshmen Casey Sole and Braden Spawr at that position.
“I don’t know where Hunter will play in college,” Sawyers said. “He might stick behind the plate. We have (Stauss and Keck) next year and I think (Hiett’s) bat is ahead of his glove right now. So I don’t know if we see him catching immediately, but he can certainly play first base or he can play left field.”
Like Sawyers, Redhawk assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Craig Ringe liked what he saw from Hiett as an offensive threat.
“He has a knack for finding the barrel and is very strong at contact,” Ringe said upon signing Hiett. “With the plus-hit tool in his bag, he will have a good chance to get bats as a freshman.”
Sawyers said the 5-foot-11 Hiett has the athletic ability to be versatile and plug into different lineup spots.
“He’s not a bad athlete,” Sawyers said. “I think he is a present, ready to hit type of guy. So for him, it is ‘Can you get the bat in the lineup and not worry about where he plays.’
“He’s a strong physical kid with a good swing.”
Hiett joins Brett Graber (outfield, Consumnes River College), Anthony Klein (pitcher, Parkway Central), Joey Kossina (pitcher, Belleville West), Ryan Malzahn (outfield, O’Fallon Christian), Daniel Sperling (infield, McHenry County College), and Ty Stauss (infield, Lafayette).
The heavy emphasis on area players isn’t by happenstance, according to Sawyers.
“Historically,” Sawyers said, “it is driven by the (St. Louis Cardinals), but this is a part of the country that is passionate about baseball. So you have kids that (baseball) matters.
“They love baseball, and if you love it then you are going to work at it.”