FRANKLIN FURNACE — Way back on April 24, a day that now seems like it took place ages ago, Green’s chances at winning at least a share of the SOC I title were cut in half.
That day, the Bobcats had traveled to Clay and fell by a 1-0 final in a 10-inning instant classic.
If you were paying attention back then, you already know what senior Tanner Kimbler did that evening. The Bobcats’ ace threw nine innings, didn’t allow a run to cross the plate and struck out six.
But for Kimbler, that wasn’t nearly good enough because his team didn’t walk away victoriously.
So when his teammates returned the favor this past week with a 5-2 walk-off win over those same Panthers in nine innings — a win that clinched a share of the SOC I crown — Kimbler’s smile ranged from ear to ear.
“The bond with my teammates is unreal,” Kimbler said. “Off the field, we are all friends and usually hang out after games and over weekends. On the field, we are always playing for each other. Teamwork has been a big factor in the work we have done this year.”
You can rest assured that Tanner Kimbler is always going to be playing for his teammates. That’s been a key part of his character since he stepped into the halls of Green High School.
Luckily for him, two of his current teammates are also future temmates. Third baseman Bryce Ponn and shortstop Tayte Carver will join Kimbler at Shawnee State University next spring.
All three will play, and hope to make an impact, with the Bears’ baseball program. But first, there’s still business left to attend to in Franklin Furnace.
“All three of us would like to make a difference at Shawnee State and we expect a district final appearance,” Kimbler said. “We have so much talent and work hard every day.”
Kimbler and hard work go together like peanut butter and jelly.
After leading the Bobcats’ basketball program in scoring this past winter, Kimbler switched into baseball mode and has done nothing but dominate his appearance on the rubber. His pitching, and abilities at the plate, have played a significant part in Green piecing together a 20-3 record.
He’s always working and he’s always thinking about his next move.
“When I’m on the mound, I think about location and throwing a first-pitch strike to the batter to get ahead in the count and give me room to throw a pitcher’s pitch,” Kimbler said.
With the ball in Kimbler’s hand, the senior is hoping to end his high school career on a high note while extending the postseason as long as he and his teammates possibly can.
“I hope to make a deep run in the tournament,” Kimbler said. “When we play like we can, there is always a chance of us doing it.”
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