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Perfect Pitch

Monday, October 1, 2012

Just five months after graduation, this talented pitcher devoted to his chosen field is destined for the show.

by Donna Parker

Ben Klimesh, who received a degree in business administration from Trinity in 2012, is focused on one thing and one thing only - baseball. Selected by the Cincinnati Reds in the 15th round of the Major League Baseball draft, he currently pitches for their Rookie Pioneer League in Montana. Not surprising, considering this 6-foot-4 215-pound former Trinity Tiger made his mark as the record holder in single season and career strikeouts.

"This career is all about working, communicating with people, and leading people," explains Ben, who is leveraging his Trinity education to forge ahead.

"It is a great feeling and nice to know that I'm on track to the majors but I also understand that it's a long way away and will take lots of hard work and dedication. Each week you play is different," says Ben.

"There are many more bus rides and the trips are farther away than in college but it gives you an experience of what it's like to play baseball every single day."

Ben says professional ball was always his dream and feels fortunate to be playing for the Billings Mustangs in this league considered the first step for professional players. In some ways, it's still remarkable for a guy who says he didn't used to be a spectacular player.

"In high school, as the 9th best player on the team, I didn't even play varsity my junior year. I failed a ton of times in my career but loved the game and just worked harder."

"I practiced every single day, and the hours add up. That helps you get to a place where you not only catch up to the other players but actually surpass them."

On a typical day, Ben works out, fields the ball, stretches, throws, runs the field, and shags some balls - all before early batting practice. Then, he goes over the fundamentals of the infield and pickoff plays before heading to the clubhouse for his 40 minutes of "relaxation" before the game. Post game at 10:30, he hits the showers, grabs a bite to eat, and is in bed by midnight - only to start all over again the following day - a routine he likens to the plot of the movie Groundhog Day.

"It's a long season and very much a mental game so I take it one day at a time. I can't think about the big picture. I actually just think about getting better one day at a time."

Any spare time is spent reading on the bus. Ben favors inspirational stories that will help him in the game.

Then, there are the photo ops with famous visitors. Athletics at this level attract celebrities; thus, the picture with Charlie Sheen, who played a pitcher in the movie Major League, which Ben says somewhatreflects reality.

"Major League? There is some truth to it - a little truth to it," laughs Ben.

A Chicago native, Ben ended up as a Trinity student because his mom is an alumna. He came south to escape cold winters and made the most of it on campus, spending time outdoors working the volleyball games and hanging out with the rest of the baseball team before heading to the library - "to socialize," he laughs.

"My professors had a huge impact on me. Jacob Tingle, department of business administration, is such an inspirational guy and extremely passionate. He works harder than any professor I had. He's seen his own dreams come true but still looks to better his students and himself."

"Coach Tim Scannell, department of athletics, of course. He is such a great leader and motivator and puts everything in perspective for you. He taught me that, no matter how often you fail or what happens on the mound, there is something always positive you can take from it."

"Actually, I can see myself down the road coaching for Trinity. I'd like to pass along to others what I've learned and let them know that if you're positive, determined, and focused, anything can happen."

You may contact Ben at bklimesh [at]