Incoming freshman outfielder Kyle Hess out of Mount Joy, Pennsylvania has been ready for his journey at Pitt since the summer of 2016 when he announced his verbal commitment. Nothing, including a coaching change, could tune down his excitement to get this once in a lifetime journey started.
“Yes I talked with him [Mike Bell]. He seems like a great coach and even better person. Can’t wait to get to work with him,” Hess said.
Hess spoke highly of the rest of the coaching staff as well; especially long-time Pitt pitching coach Jerry Oakes, who was his main recruiter. Through the recruiting process, Hess and Oakes became close. After talking with Hess, it became apparent that Oakes played a huge factor in his decision to choose the Panthers.
“He [Jerry Oakes] is a great guy and a great coach,” Hess said. “[I’m] extremely happy that Oakes is staying, he’s been a big part of the success of the program.”
“[Picking Pittsburgh] was an easy decision. I felt really comfortable; they play in the ACC and it’s kind of close to home, too. So Pitt checked the box on all aspects I wanted it to,” Hess said.
He didn’t only choose the Panthers over those schools, but also over a professional contract. After having professional scouts from multiple MLB teams at each game of his senior year, Hess informed the organizations that he didn’t want to get drafted because he was set on going to Pitt.
“I was definitely interested [in going pro]. I just think financially it wasn’t the right decision for me,” Hess said. “I think I have a great opportunity to go to the University of Pittsburgh and develop there.”
Developing his skills is one of his main goals in his time at Pitt, but it isn’t his only goal. Hess wants to be able to help the Panthers continue to improve. The Panthers have been on the come-up in the ACC during the past year. They won their first ACC tournament game in 2018 and made a run all the way to the conference semifinal. In addition to ACC success, Hess has his sights set on Omaha.
“I want to become the best player I can be, help the team out and hopefully go to the College World Series,” Hess said.
Though already a well-rounded player, Hess hopes to boost his future draft stock by continuing to develop each aspect of his game while at Pitt. In his senior year he batted .410 with four home runs and 18 stolen bases. These numbers earned him a spot on first-team all-conference for the third straight year.
Hess will report to Pitt on August 19th. Be on the lookout for him in the coming years as he has the potential to play huge role in bringing this Pittsburgh team to the top of the ACC.