Kidder makes quick impression at college

Andrew Kidder will play baseball and run track at Lancaster Bible College next year. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Most athletes have to pick a sport when they go to college.

Andrew Kidder added one.

Kidder, a senior at Northeast High School, was visiting Lancaster Bible College when he started talking to the baseball coach. Kidder stars in the middle infield for the Vikings and he was hoping to impress the coaches enough that he could play at the next level. He did more than that.

“I was working out and the baseball coach called the track coach and told him I was pretty fast,” said Kidder, who lives down the street from his high school. “He told the track coach, and a few days or weeks later, I got a call and I was asked if I wanted to run track, too.

“I was happy they told him. I like track. Speed is a big part of my baseball game and if I can use that to help the track team, I want to do it. I like competing. Baseball is my main sport, I love that, but if I can do both, I’ll be happy to do it.”

Baseball has been a huge part of Kidder’s life and ever since coronavirus shut down all sports at everything from the professional level to the high school level, Kidder has stayed up on his game.

Every day after finishing his school work, Kidder goes somewhere to work out. Sometimes it’s just him and another friend, other times it’s guys from the Northeast baseball team who are also shut out from practicing with the Vikings. But no matter whom he has to work out with, he’s there.

He has big plans in playing college baseball and he’s not about to let COVID-19 derail his future like it did to his senior year. And while he hasn’t been able to play live games, he’s done a lot on the field to improve. In fact, not having a season may have made him better.

“We’re able to do more because you’re not playing games, so you can get stronger and better,” Kidder said. “I’m pretty upset about not having a season. We had a good year last year and we were going to be much better this year. This year, we thought we could go even further. We had good seniors. But we didn’t get a chance.

“We do a lot. We’ll do a lot of running, trying to stay in shape. We’ll have catches. We’ll do infield drills. And then depending upon how our arms feel, we’ll do live batting practice. We do anything we can to stay sharp.”

Kidder’s workout partners have a good hurler throwing to them.

While not a starter, Kidder does have a live arm, and it’s why he’s become a shutdown relief guy for the Vikings. That’s a possibility in college, but he’s thinking he will be primarily an infielder. Ideally, he’ll play shortstop.

“I told them I can throw, and I like pitching a lot,” Kidder said. “I like playing shortstop more, though. I’ll do whatever they need me to do. I just want to play. It’s been really hard not having a season, I’m hoping to get back as soon as possible.”

Kidder is happy he has a chance to play in college, but that’s not the only reason he decided on Lancaster Bible College. He believes he’ll get a great education there and he’s also happy it follows his dedication to religion.

“My faith is very important to me and this is a great school for me in that regard,” Kidder said. “That was one of the main reasons I decided to go there. It has everything I’m looking for. My faith means a great deal to me.”

He also likes the education he’ll receive. He plans on majoring in business while there.

“I would like to have my own business, and I think this will help me do that,” Kidder said. “I’ve had a lot of jobs. I was a painter. I’m not great at it, but I’m pretty decent. I haven’t been able to do that, either, but I’m always working hard when I’m working.”

That’s exactly the type of ballplayer Lancaster Bible College is getting.

Kidder is one of the better players in the Public League. He is a strong infielder, a good hitter with some pop and, of course, he has that speed that made him a recruit of the track team. But in his mind, that’s not what makes him the player he is.

“I like to be the guy who helps everyone,” Kidder said. “I might not be the best player on the team, but you’re going to get someone who is willing to do whatever it takes. And I’ll help anyone who needs it. That’s the type of player I like being. I think that’s the best part of my game. I try to raise the game of other people.”

He’ll do that next year on the baseball field.

And in track?

“I’ll do whatever I can to help,” Kidder said. “It’s hard not having another chance to do this with my team (at Northeast), but I’m looking forward to getting to college. I hope we have a chance to do something special there. I’m looking forward to it.”