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Knights signee Kleinschmit having great spring

Friday, March 29, Corvallis, Ore. – The sensational spring of 2024 Corvallis Knights signee Ethan Kleinschmit reached new heights last Sunday.

The Linn-Benton Community College freshman lefty held Lane Community College to three hits, an unearned run and struck out 15 in 8.0 innings pitched in a 2-1 NWAC victory over the Titans at the Hamlin Sports Complex in Springfield.

It was the fifth consecutive outstanding outing for the 6-foot-3, 190-pounder from John F. Kennedy High School in Mt. Angel. His season ERA remained at 0.00 through 30 innings; he has allowed just nine hits and has an unbelievable 53-6 strikeout-walk ratio.

An Oregon State commit, Kleinschmit was the Class 2A Player of the Year at Kennedy in 2023. He was a two-time 2A all-state selection, a two-time Tri-River Conference all-star, and the 2023 conference player of the year.

“I came in (to LBCC) expecting to do good things, but I didn’t really expect it to be this good,” Kleinschmit said in an interview several days before the Lane CC game. “Everything is working, the defense is making good plays behind me and Buck (catcher Ethan Buckley) has been outstanding.”

Kleinschmit’s out pitch is generally a four-seam fastball that hits about 91 miles per hour, with good run.

“I have a slurve that is pretty sweepy, it’s a good pitch and a change I don’t throw very often but still mix it in occasionally,” he added.

Pitching at LBCC is more challenging than Oregon 2A baseball.

“I’m mixing in more pitches, throwing in more off-speed,” he said. “In high school my fastball won pretty much every at-bat for me, but here you have to throw a lot more off-speed to change people’s eye level and what they’re seeing.

“It’s way more rewarding when you have a good outing. In high school I’d just throw fastballs and strike everyone out. Here I have to work for my outs.”

He has displayed outstanding control at both levels. He has not walked more than two batters in any of his starts.

“In high school I didn’t walk that many people either,” he said. “I had way more strikeouts than walks.”

LBCC coach Andy Peterson said Kleinschmit “has made a lot of progress” since he first saw the freshman lefty as a junior.

“He only threw 79 (MPH), but he never threw a ball,” Peterson said. “You could see with his size, his athleticism and how loose he is that velo was definitely going to climb.

“He threw 85 last summer and when he showed up here last fall he started hitting 90s, and with the way his ball moves … he’s been a pretty nice surprise for us.”

Kleinschmit made four starts before Sunday’s masterpiece and excelled in every one.

  • On Feb. 17, he allowed no runs and had eight strikeouts in four innings in a 6-1 win over Columbia Basin.
  • On Feb. 24, he got a no-decision in a 2-1 victory at Clark, allowing no hits in five innings, with eight strikeouts.
  • On March 7, he earned the decision in a 12-0 beatdown of Chemeketa. He struck out 12 and gave up just three hits in six innings.
  • On March 14, he allowed one hit over six innings, struck out 10 and got the win in a 10-0 thrashing of Clackamas.

Surprisingly, Kleinschmit attracted no attention from pro scouts, and very little attention from college recruiters while at Kennedy.

“I had a couple conversations with Hawaii and a few with Oregon State, but I was pretty much set on coming [to LBCC], he said.

“They have a good connection with Oregon State, with Petey and (LBCC assistant coach) Richie Mascarenas. “It’s close to home and they’re a good program. OSU offered me in the fall and I accepted that pretty quick.”

Kleinschmit had an offer to accompany Peterson to Alberta this summer and play for him with the Okotoks Dawgs, one of the premier franchises in the Western Canadian Baseball League, that country’s equivalent of the West Coast league.

“That’s a long ways away and I’ve never been away from my family that far,” he said. “I wanted to stay close to home and the Knights are just down the road.

“It’s a chance to play some high-level baseball. I’m excited for it.”

Peterson is confident Kleinschmit’s talents will play just fine in the WCL.

“Ethan’s going to do an incredible job wherever he goes,” he said. “He’s an incredible kid, his work ethic is unmatched and he’s doing everything right to get him to the highest level possible.

“Not only is he big and left-handed with a lot of movement, he’s very competitive. The best way I can put it is, he makes it look very easy.”

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