BE's Krauth to play baseball at Cumberlands

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By Mike Farner

 MOUNT WASHINGTON – Just call it love at first sight.

     The first college visit for Bullitt East senior Tyler Krauth was to the University of the Cumberlands and with each visit to other schools, the baseball player became more and more sure that his heart was with his first choice. In the end, he stayed the course, recently signing with the school in Williamsburg, Kentucky.

     “I knew right when I visited the college,” Krauth said after making it all official in front of family, friends, teammates and coaches in a ceremony in the Bullitt East Media Center last month. “That was three months ago.”

     Still, to make sure it was the right choice for him, Krauth also visited Brescia and Pikeville, but he knew where his heart was.

     “I just wanted to see before I made it official,” he said.

     It didn’t hurt any that when Krauth was making his official visit to the school that they were playing Brescia that weekend. The Patriots jumped on top early and rolled to a 12-2 victory.

     “It wasn’t a good game to watch,” Krauth recalled. “It was a slaughter.”

     After committing to head coach Brad Shelton and his program, Krauth had some contact with Morehead State University as well as a Division I school in Florida, but he stayed the course with the University of the Cumberlands.

     “It was difficult in the beginning,” Krauth said of the process of deciding on a college to attend. “My mom didn’t want me to go out of Kentucky. Dad said ‘follow your desires.’ I was settled on the Cumberlands.”

     The 18-year old son of Brian and Tracy Benson would like to major in elementary education. He also has two siblings, Jacob and Caleb Benson.

     “I’ve just thought that would be fun,” he said. “Plus, I would like to coach someday.”

     Krauth had a strong senior season with the Chargers as the team was in the top 25 in the state for most of the season as they rolled to a 27-8 record.

     On the mound, the senior started nine games for the red and gold, posting a 4-3 record with a strong 1.14 ERA. Krauth worked in 49 innings this spring, allowing 32 hits while striking out 25 and walking just 14.

     The biggest start came in the first-round of the Sixth Region Tournament against Holy Cross. Krauth had a strong outing, but the Charger offense sputtered that day, leaving Krauth with a 2-1 defeat.

     At times in his career at Bullitt East, Krauth saw time in the outfield, but that really didn’t happen this year. As such, he had only three plate appearances without a hit.

     “They said I could help them pitching and they would also look at me for some time in the outfield,” the senior said. “I don’t really have a preference.”

     Bullitt East head coach Jeff Bowles has sent a number of players on to college teams and he has no doubt that Krauth will fit in just fine at the University of the Cumberlands.

     “He has pitched against some tough teams,” the veteran Charger coach said. “He was just great against Ballard and Pleasure Ridge Park. He is earning what is coming his way.

     “We have given him the ball every five days,” the coach added. “We know something good will happen.”

     Krauth isn’t going to go out and throw it past good hitters, but he has enough finesse to get the job done.

     “He throws in the mid-80s,” Bowles said. “He’ll only get stronger. He’ll add 20 to 30 pounds.

     “He has worked hard with us,” the coach added. “He has worked hard and the colleges saw that.”

     At the University of the Cumberlands, Krauth will join a program that posted a 31-23 record this past season. Coach Brad Shelton just completed his 13th season at the helm of the Patriot program and he has over 640 wins.

     The University of the Cumberlands is part of the NAIA and they play in the Mid-South Conference.