In our continuing effort to highlight our senior student-athletes, we are presenting our “Senior Showcase” feature. Whether a senior intends on continuing their athletic career at the next level or not, we are wanting to highlight the accomplishments of this year’s senior class. Click here to submit your nomination for “Senior Showcase”.
CANEY — One of the most decorated high school players in not just Southeast Kansas, but the entire state is arguably Jace Kaminska of Caney Valley High School.
Heading into his senior campaign, Kaminska was already committed to play college baseball at Wichita State University. His list of accomplishments included Most Valuable Player from an area newspaper, Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of Kansas and 3A Pitcher of the Year from the Kansas Association of Baseball Coaches. Last season, he struck out a state-record 29 straight batters, shattering the old record of 12 according to the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.
Over the summer of 2019, Kaminska was invited to the “Midwest Showcase” held at the home of the professional baseball team Kansas City Royals. There, he was able to pitch in front of 100 professional club scouts from all 30 major league baseball teams on a major league baseball field.
The 2019-2020 academic and athletic school year was shaping up to be a big one for the Caney Valley Bullpup, however, like many others, the COVID-19 Pandemic will leave Kaminska and others wondering what Bullpup Baseball could have accomplished with him at the mound.
However, despite the abrupt halt of the spring season and the potential of being drafted in the majors, Kaminska is keeping a positive outlook on his journey.
“Wichita State University has been the main plan all along. There have been lots of fun times with the class that I’ll graduate with. Basketball and baseball have been worth it all,” said Jace.
Through his high school career, Kaminska is no stranger to off-field uncertainty.
While being recruited by Wichita State University and offered a baseball scholarship, the Shockers cut ties with their then baseball coach. That uncertainty after much effort and promise put added worry on not just Jace, but also his high school baseball coach, and father, Mike Kaminska.
“After meeting Mike Pelfrey and Eric Wedge and getting to know them, I wasn’t worried at all. They let us know they wanted Jace, and that means everything. He’s going to help them turn the program around,” said Mr. Kaminska.
During the basketball season this year, Kaminska averaged 14.4 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. He was recognized with All Tri-Valley League honors as well as Honorable Mention All-Class 3A.
In his record-breaking junior baseball year, Jace recorded a perfect 4-0 record that included two perfect games and two no-hitters. He also earned a 0.00 ERA with 85 strikeouts, 29 of which were consecutive, three walks, and just seven hits allowed over 32 innings pitched, leading his team to a 12-5 record. Kaminska’s high school career is a 14-1 record with five saves.
When asked on where his focus is on improving his pitching before COVID-19 put an abrupt halt on the world, Jace mentioned his speed on his pitches.
“I would really like to be living in the low 90’s more consistently in the early part of high school. Because then in the summer, that would make me live in the mid 90’s.”
Thank you to Jace and Mike Kaminska for their time and we wish him the best of luck at Wichita State University.
Here are some random questions with Jace:
Eastern Kansas Sports: What are some of your interests and hobbies away from school?
Jace Kaminska: I like to work on stuff like cars or trucks to fix. Build other things time to time. And I like working with my cows and developing its herd.
EASTERN KANSAS SPORTS: Who is your favorite athlete? Favorite sports team? Favorite music group/singer?
JK: Michale Vick. Boston Red Sox. 90s country