May 19, 2010
By David Driver
For the Stafford County Sun
Used with permission
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
STAFFORD — A trio of former Mountain View High baseball standouts have been reunited at the Division I level with the VCU Rams.
Brennan Huelse played four years of baseball at Mountain View High and was a second-team all-district player as a senior for the Wildcats.
But after graduating in 2008 the left-handed pitcher from Stafford decided he was done with baseball. He enrolled at George Mason University for the 2008-09 academic year and the closest he came to the diamond was when he went to some games as a fan to watch the Patriots.
Huelse then had a change of heart. He missed the game and played for American Legion Post 290 last summer.
“I changed my mind. I started missing baseball,“ said Huelse, who began playing the game when he was 5.
He has returned to organized baseball, but not at George Mason. Huelse is now a freshman pitcher for the Division I VCU Rams, who like Mason are a member of the Colonial Athletic Association. And it is no coincidence that two of his former Mountain View High teammates, pitcher Kyle Haynes and infielder Nick Kime, are true freshmen on the VCU team. Kime made starts at second, shortstop and third base for the Rams.
“I knew Nick and Kyle were going here. It has been a lot of fun,” Huelse said. “College baseball is a lot different than high school.“
Huelse has been used out of the bullpen for VCU head coach Paul Keyes, whose program has sent the likes of Brandon Inge (Detroit Tigers), Cla Meredith (Baltimore Orioles), Sean Marshall (Chicago Cubs) and Scott Sizemore (Tigers) to the Major Leagues.
But Haynes has been used as a starter and is part of in impressive freshmen class of pitchers that includes Blake Hauser, who is from Chesterfield and was drafted in the 25th round out of high school by Cleveland in 2009 but decided to attend VCU in Richmond.
“I played with Haynes since he was 9 years old. I know all of his tendencies,“
Kime said of Haynes. “That helps me out a lot. The game is a lot faster in college.
You have to adjust to the game.“
Haynes started on the mound when VCU played at Maryland on March 29. He pitched three innings and allowed two hits and two earned runs and threw 51 pitches in a game won by the Terps, 7-2. Huelse took over for Haynes in the fourth inning at Maryland and pitched 2.2 innings and allowed four hits and one earned run while throwing 40 pitches. Kime started for VCU in the game and was hitless in two at bats.
Kime, who played four years of varsity ball at Mountain View, has been a key utility player for the Rams this year. Kime hit .259 in his first 54 at bats this season and played in 26 of the first 48 games, with 15 starts. Haynes was 3-3 with an ERA of 5.16 in his first 11 outings, with 10 starts. Huelse was 1-1 with an ERA of 4.20 in his first 11 VCU outings, all of the bullpen. VCU was 12-5-1 in the CAA and tied for second place as of May 10, back of first-place JMU at 14-4. The CAA tourney begins May 27 in Wilmington, N.C. and the Rams should be one of the four teams in the field.
“Kyle has done a good job. Kyle had a good fall for us,“ Keyes said of Haynes. “We really trust what he does. He has a good knowledge of what he needs to do to be successful. We feel good about his development so far.“
“He still has a lot to learn,“ Keyes said of Huelse. “He has some ability. He is a big, tall lefty. Nick has a lot of ability. Of those three he probably has the most raw ability. He has the tools to be a shortstop. We have to figure that out by the end of the year.“