On his recruiting visit at Pittsburg State, Carthage baseball standout Kaden Kralicek was touring the athletic facilities and suddenly he didn’t know where he was at.

“I got lost in their facilities, and I’m kind of glad I got lost because I just opened random doors and I was like, ‘I kind of like this place,'” Kralicek said.

Kralicek now finds himself as PSU’s newest recruit. The senior shortstop signed a national letter of intent on Tuesday at Carthage High School to play baseball with the Gorillas.

“Everything about Pitt State, I loved,” Kralicek said. “The coaches kept welcoming me. They would always text me and keep up with me, but they would give me my space too. It felt like a whole ’nother set of parents.”

As a PSU alumnus, Carthage first-year baseball coach Luke Bordewick is excited to see where the next chapter takes Kralicek.

“It’s really cool to see one of our own athletes sign there as well," Bordewick said. "I know Kaden has worked tremendously hard for this opportunity. I know if he continues that hard work, he will contribute a ton to the future Gorilla baseball teams. It’s really an exciting time for Carthage baseball. He brings a tremendous work ethic. I’ll say this and I’ll continue to say this: His greatest baseball trait is his baseball IQ. He is thinking two to three plays ahead all the time. He is always very sure of where to go with the baseball, and he always makes the correct play. Ever since he was a freshman, that has always been his greatest attribute. If there is ever a ball hit to the shortstop, you know it’s going to the right spot. What a trait to have as a shortstop.”

Kralicek said he was considering two other schools — junior colleges Crowder College and State Fair Community College.

But PSU just felt like home.

“I know a couple of guys on there,” Kralicek said. “I went over for a scrimmage game, and all the guys made me feel at home. That’s the main point.”

Kralicek’s junior campaign was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but he hit .263 and scored 15 runs as a sophomore. Bordewick said he was disappointed the season was canceled because he felt Kralicek was primed for a big year.

“I know he and the other seniors are pretty hungry to contribute this year, especially Kaden with that tenacity and that work ethic,” Bordewick said. “I think he is primed for a huge year. I hope that we get to have a year, first and foremost. I think he will have a huge year and contribute in a lot of ways. I couldn’t be happier for him than I am right now.”

As for what kind of person the Gorillas and head coach Bob Fornelli are getting with Kralicek:

“Man, they are getting a great kid,” Bordewick said. “He is a kid they are never going to have to worry about in the classroom or outside the classroom. He is going to be a great kid for them. He is a symbol of what a collegiate athlete looks like both academically and behaviorally.”

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