Sunday 19 May 2019

Athlete of the Week – Case Kermode

Case Kermode
Wayne Country Day


Wayne Country Day head baseball coach Michael Taylor knows if his team is going to make a second consecutive appearance in the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association 1-A state finals, the Chargers have a lot of questions to answer.

Taylor also knows there’s one huge piece of the puzzle he doesn’t have to worry about. Case Kermode, the Chargers’ senior cornerstone returns for one more crack at a state championship.

Kermode, the 2018 Coastal Plains Independent Conference Player of the Year, led Wayne Country Day in hitting last season with a .493 batting average. He also compiled 34 hits, 34 RBI and a .768 slugging percentage in 88 plate appearances.

Kermode is this week’s Mt. Olive Pickles High School Athlete of the Week. The High School Athlete of the Week is a partnership between Curtis Media Group and Mt. Olive Pickles to recognize local high school athletes who excel athletically, academically and through service to their community.

The recognized athletes are chosen by the athletic department and administration from their respective high schools.

Kermode anchored a Chargers offense that finished last season with a .370 batting average while averaging 10 runs a game.

A focus on relaxing at the plate while hitting the ball to all parts of the field, rather than pulling the ball has allowed Kermode to see signficant improvement at the plate during his career.

“I would say my hitting is the area where I’ve improved the most,” Kermode said. “The biggest thing I try to focus on is staying relaxed. I tend to pull balls and try to muscle balls. Whenever I stay relaxed I try to go with whatever the pitch is. If it’s inside I try to go that way, if it’s outside I try to hit it as hard as I can.”

Kermode has been an All-Conference selection in each of the first three seasons of his high school career. Last season, he was a NCISAA All-State selection, and he played for the Wayne County American Legion team last summer. Kermode also participated in the 2018 North Carolina Powerade State Games.

Wayne Country Day finished 18-5 last season, but came up a win short of its ultimate goal. A 9-2 loss to Kerr-Vance Academy in the NCISAA 1-A state finals has provided Kermode all the motivation he’s needed this off-season.

When asked what has to be different for the Chargers, who return just four seniors in 2019, Kermode’s answer is simple.

“We’ve got to work harder,” Kermode said. “We split with (Kerr-Vance) during the regular season. I don’t believe that they’re better than us, we just didn’t come and play during the state championship.”

Kermode’s versatile skills on the baseball diamond allow him to provide a calming presence for the Chargers when he’s behind the plate. He is often tasked with making sure his teammates are properly aligned defensively with runners on base.

Kermode also made 10 appearances on the mound last season, and he’s a sure-handed infielder as well.

“Case started for us at catcher as a freshman,” Taylor said. “It kind of threw him in a big role. Every year his leadership has just grown tremendously. He’s like a second coach on the field. When he’s behind the plate, he runs all of our bunt defenses, our first and third situations, he calls pitches. He leads by example. The kids see Case working hard, so the other kids want to follow.”

When he isn’t setting an example for his teammates on the diamond, Kermode maintains a 3.3 grade point average.

Kermode founded the American Sign Language club at Wayne Country Day. He is also involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Chinese Culture Club and the Diversity Club.

Kermode has signed to continue his baseball career at Lenoir-Rhyne University next Fall. He plans to study to become a personal trainer or a physical therapist.

“I went on a visit and (Lenoir-Rhyne) felt just like home,” Kermode said. “It’s a small school. I love the coaches and their mindset. I am planning on majoring in personal training or physical therapy.”

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