As a three-sport star specializing in soccer, basketball and baseball for Stuart Hall, Kris Suzuki certainly has plenty of statistics to back up his numerous athletic endeavors.
That’s why it may be forgiven if one were to mistake Suzuki’s most recent eye-popping number — .783 — as the senior’s free-throw percentage from the recently completed basketball season, when he was an All-Bay Counties League West selection.
However, that gaudy number is in fact referring to Suzuki’s otherworldly batting average for Stuart Hall’s baseball team, a major reason the Knights are 6-2 record (with both of the losses coming by a single run).
“Coming into the season, I thought .400 maybe was a reasonable goal,” said Suzuki, who batted .328 last season. “I definitely didn’t think I would be hitting .700 or anything, but I did put in a lot of time in the offseason working on my hitting, so it’s nice to see that it’s paying off.”
As impressive as his average may be, Suzuki’s contributions are far more than just on offense (though he does lead the team in hits with 18, runs with 17 and stolen bases with 14).
Suzuki is also the Knights’ ace on the mound, leading the team with a 2-0 mark to go along with his 1.75 ERA and 16 strikeouts — not bad considering he didn’t pitch last season while resting strained ligaments in his elbow.
“When Kris is on the mound, we always feel confident we’re going to win,” senior teammate Ben Costa said. “He throw strikes all the time and when guys do make contact with his pitches, they usually hit easy grounders to the opposite field because they can’t catch up with his fastball.”
When Suzuki is not striking out batters, he’s usually preventing extra base hits in the field, where he is comfortable playing any of the three outfield positions.
“Kris is the most natural outfielder I’ve ever coached here,” Stuart Hall coach John Bertken said. “He is so savvy out there. He just glides to the ball. Whenever he is in the field, I tell who ever is pitching not to worry about any fly balls, because Kris will track down anything hit near him.”
Suzuki will have to maintain his high level of play for the Knights, now that league play is underway in the BCL West. Stuart Hall lost seven seniors from last year’s team that went 10-13 and the young Knights regularly start three freshmen.
“I just want to work hard and set a good example for the underclassmen,” said Suzuki, who rates baseball as his preferred sport of the three he competes in for Stuart Hall (he was also All-BCL West in soccer).
“We’re doing a lot better than we expected so far and we want to maintain this level of play. I always have a pretty high level of expectations, so I think we should definitely be playing for the league title this year.”