By EARL WATT
• Leader & Times
Bee Jay manager Brandon Kitch has not been afraid to take chances on the bases in the first nine games of the season.
Kitch has sent runners on steals and pushed to get runs home on plays in the outfield.
Sometimes it has paid off, sometimes it hasn’t, but Kitch has enjoyed the chance to take chances.
“At my community college, it’s a little bit different,” Kitch said. “You play base to base. It’s a lot more conservative. I am naturally aggressive — aggressive to a fault.”
When the Bee Jays lost back-to-back Jayhawk League games last week, Kitch took some chances that didn’t pay off. Tow Bee Jays were thrown out a home, and four were caught stealing second.
“Sometimes it is good, sometimes it is bad,” Kitch said. “I like to put pressure on the defense. I want our guys to be able to run when they want to. I would rather put green light on then give them straight steal. I mainly give faster guys the green light. I tell them to be aggressive.”
Coaching the Bee Jays, where the talent level is higher, is something that Kitch enjoys. It allows him to expose his naturally aggressive tendencies.
But at the same time, the opposition is a little better, too.
“It is easier with a team like this that is very talented,” Kitch said. “I tend to forget, in those two losses, the outfielders throw better at this level. That was being too aggressive.”
But Kitch ahs no inclination of turning of the green light or removing the aggression. While there have been times when it may have hurt the Bee Jays, it has also resulted in runs.
“It’s easy to score form second,” Kitch said. “If our guys keep hitting the baseball and getting to second, it is easy.” But he added with a laugh, “It’s first to second and home to third where I’ve had some trouble.”
Kitch may make some adjustments, but fans can expect to see base runners making moves.
“I won’t change who I am,” he said. “But it will be controlled aggression.”