We first met Kendall when Nicholas went to try out for his first select team when he was 11…that team would eventually see half of it’s members go on to play college baseball. It was stacked. Nicholas played with Kendall on and off in the summer for many years after that first year.
Kendall and his family moved to Keller from Southlake before his Junior year and was a pivotal piece to the Indians success those two years. I still keep in touch with his parents who still live in town.
This article makes me proud….Kendall battled Tommy John surgery and really did think his playing career was over and to accomplish what he has is very exciting. We will have to wait until June to see where he goes in the draft.
West Texas A&M third baseman Kendall Boone had just completed a four-game home series against Texas A&M-Kingsville in mid-April and was asked by the media about his hitting streak.
Boone said nothing.
All the senior offered up was the look of, “Say, what?”
Now, ask Boone the last time he didn’t collect a hit at the Buffs’ home field of Wilder Park and he quickly spits out, “Incarnate Word last year. … you remember your failures before you remember your successes.”
Boone’s successes are certainly worth remembering.
His home hitting streak has reached a hefty 36 games, stretching over a 13-month period dating to March 2011.
This season, the Keller High graduate has managed at least one hit in all 23 Buffs home games, owning a .373 batting average and a team-high 41 runs batted in while leading WT in plate appearances at 161.
“That’s an impressive streak at any level,” WT head baseball coach Matt Vanderburg said. “Kendall’s been getting it done at the plate for us for two years now.”
Since Boone didn’t even know about the home hitting streak, this is not a tale of listing a crazy string of baseball superstitions — like eating the same meal 98 minutes before the start of each game — to help him survive the streak.
This is the tale of a young man who at 19 pretty much thought his baseball career was history following Tommy John surgery on his right throwing arm.
Tommy John surgery is a surgical graft procedure in which a ligament in the medial elbow is replaced with a tendon from elsewhere in the body.
It’s about a young man anxious to keep the streak alive in front of a baseball-loving grandpa who will see him play for the first time this weekend against Eastern New Mexico.
Boone has certainly thrived in his two years with the Buffs.
Last season, Boone hit .424 and led the Buffs in runs scored (56) and RBIs (57). His numbers led to first team all-Lone Star Conference, all-South Central Region and finding his name listed on a pair of Division II all-American teams.
Not bad, considering a year into his college career at Blinn Junior College, he had given up his baseball dream because of Tommy John surgery at 19.
Boone opened his working days out of baseball at a Metroplex massage clinic as a salesman. He loyally conducted rehab on his surgically-repaired arm, and the commitment paid dividends.
A baseball buddy of Boone’s asked if he wanted to play Division III (non-scholarship) baseball at Cedar Valley College in the Dallas area. Boone jumped at the chance, going from walk-on to all-American.
“That’s where Coach Vanderburg saw me,” Boone said. “It’s been a perfect fit here at WT. They are offensive-minded, and that’s the style I like. It’s been awesome playing here at WT with my coaches and my teammates helping me out.”
Boone’s first organized game of baseball was at age 4, and he soon fell in love with the sport from the view of the batter’s box.
“I think the hitting part intrigued me the most,” said Boone, who has made some impressive defensive plays at third base, showing a strong throwing arm for the Buffs this season. “I personally think it’s the hardest part of the game — just because you have new challenges you have to overcome every day. It’s the pitcher versus you. And you versus yourself. It’s a new challenge every pitch. It keeps me interested.”
A diehard Texas Rangers fan since the “Bobby Witt, Juan Gonzalez and Pudge Rodriguez days,” Boone has his own simple theory on owning the longest home hitting streak in WT baseball history.
“Playing at home should be a lot easier for anybody,” Boone said. “You are comfortable in your own environment. You hit there every day. You take BP (batting practice) there every day. It’s your batter’s box, and you have your fans their to support you.
“For me, it’s exciting to play at home. You get fired up and there is no at-bat you let down. On the road, late in games, sometimes can get disheartening.”
Boone can end his career with a 40-game home hitting streak by producing a hit in each of WT’s four LSC games against ENMU starting Friday.
Boone will double his pleasure if he gets the job done because a diehard Pittsburgh Pirates fan named Jack Laughrey is expected to be at Wilder Park.
“He’s a huge baseball fan, and due to health reasons and family reasons he’s been up in Pennsylvania for a while,” Boone said of his grandfather, who he talks baseball with over the phone.
“He has never got to see me play organized baseball. He’s been planning this trip for a long time. It will be really important for me on senior weekend to play my heart out in front of him.”
Making a hitting streak will be an unforgettable memory.
■ Name: Kendall Boone
■ Hometown: Keller
■ Year: Senior
■ Position: Third baseman
■ The scoop: Boone owns a 36-game home hitting streak dating back to March 19, 2011.
■ What: Eastern New Mexico (12-30, 2-21) at West Texas A&M (27-15, 14-10), Lone Star Conference four-game baseball series
■ Where: Wilder Park
■ When: 7 p.m. Friday (9 innings); 4 p.m. doubleheader Saturday (7 innings each); 1 p.m. Sunday (9 innings)
■ Friday’s starters: Friday — WT right-hander Justin Kuks (8-0, 3.50 ERA) vs. ENMU sophomore right-hander Brett Humphries (3-3, 5:40 ERA)
■ Do you have to play certain walk-up music: I like walk-up music. It gets me a little fired up. I’ve kept it the same this year. It’s a song called “Cinema” by an artist named Skrillex.
■ Explain your playing style in two words: Hard. Aggressive.
■ First organized sport you played: Baseball (age 4) in Southlake.
■ Best advice you have for children: Nothing is handed to you. Especially when you are young. So appreciate the little things. Work hard to get the next level and never give up to adversity.”
■ Sports hero as a kid: Ken Griffey Jr.
■ Best day of my life: Probably have to say hitting a walk-off grand slam last year against Incarnate Word. It was my first walk-off of any kind. It ended up being a home run, and being able to throw your helmet up in the air and celebrate with your friends is pretty cool.”