By Kevin Posival
Killeen Daily Herald
HARKER HEIGHTS – The Harker Heights Knights baseball team bowed out of the playoffs again before it was ready, but Korey Wacker and David Kipp, at least, get to keep playing next season in college. Wacker is headed to Temple College and Kipp will join first baseman Cody Dunn at Mary Hardin-Baylor.
Kipp and Wacker have been mainstays for the Knights, who have made the playoffs three times, including the last two years. But Kipp missed half of his final season sidelined with a broken jaw, not the ideal way a senior wants to finish his high school career.
"Just the courage he showed getting back shows what kind of player he is," Harker Heights coach Glenn Cunningham said of Kipp. "That last game he threw against Georgetown was unbelievable. He ended up on a good note, but a little bit disappointing in the middle."
While Kipp and Dunn (broken leg) missed the first half of district, Wacker, who finished his Heights career with 20 wins and six losses in three years, and the rest of the seniors kept the Knights in playoff contention.
"It was tough. We had a lot of seniors and we needed them to step up and they did," Wacker said. "As for myself and a senior who's been on varsity for three years, I had to step up and be a leader and take charge."
Wacker, who was mostly the hero from the hill his first two years, developed into a hitter when the Knights lost Dunn and Kipp just before district.
"Korey is the type of guy you can't measure because of his size," Cunningham said. "He's got an exceptionally big heart. His heart is probably bigger than his body. We always had a chance to win when he was standing on the mound. Korey really stepped his game up this year hitting the ball. We counted on him as a hitter, too, and on the mound."
With the injuries, the playoff loss and their senior seasons all but put together in next year's yearbook, both Wacker and Kipp are excited about playing at the next level.
"I feel like I'm starting over," Wacker said. "I've been playing baseball since I could throw a ball. Now, it's like all the fun is still in front of me. Hopefully, there's a lot more baseball in front of me. I'm excited, definitely."
Kipp said he never really even contemplated schools other than UMHB and said he'll be starting over, like when he was moved up to varsity his freshman year, and is excited about the opportunity to continue to reach his potential.
"I'm going to start working out and getting stronger," Kipp said of entering UMHB. "(UMHB baseball coach Micah Wells) likes my speed and hitting ability and he doesn't think I've reached my full potential yet. Knowing that, it made me feel good knowing that can get better."
Wacker, Kipp and Dunn are just three of about 10 seniors, including six starters the Knights will be losing this season.
"We'll miss those two. They've been an important part of this program for the last three years," Cunningham said. "We're losing some quality individuals, not only on the field but just the type of people they are. I know they're excited about moving on."
Contact Kevin Posival at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7562.