Highlands’ Jimmy Kunst commits to play baseball at Eastern Michigan

Wednesday, August 24, 2022 | 2:13 PM

Jimmy Kunst took an unofficial visit to the campus of Eastern Michigan a couple of months ago, and several aspects of the trip, including a tour of the Eagles baseball facilities, drew him closer to making his recent verbal commitment.

The Highlands senior and multi-sport standout announced his decision to play at the Division I Mid-American Conference school a couple of days ago, and the feeling, he said, gives him a sense of relief.

“It’s definitely really nice to have this decision behind me,” said Kunst, who has begun fall baseball practices with his Highlands teammates.

“The recruiting process was kind of a stressful period with taking a look at what each school had to offer and see which ones were the best fit. Knowing that I found the right school that I really love, it’s been pretty nice the past couple of days.”

Kunst also had a Division I offer from Gardner Webb, and the right-handed pitcher and hitter performed well at a camp there earlier this month. His fastball topped 90 mph.

Seton Hill also showed interest, and Kunst was in communication with Akron and St. Bonaventure before coaching changes, he said, altered the dynamic with both programs.

“Things just fell into place at Eastern Michigan,” Kunst said. “It just ended up being the perfect fit for me. The facilities are amazing, and the whole package of what they had to offer really drew me in. I kept in contact with the coaches, and it was reassuring that they stayed in touch and were asking how everything was going. They were always at the top of my list since they first made contact.”

Kunst adds to the local baseball presence at Eastern Michigan.

Jarett Bach, a Yough graduate, was a sophomore transfer this past spring after starting his career at Pitt.

Deer Lakes distance running standout Carson McCoy, who won WPIAL and PIAA track and field titles this past spring, is a freshman on the Eagles men’s cross country and track squads.

A shortstop when he’s not pitching, Valley News Dispatch first-team all-star Kunst batted .411 with a team-best 30 hits in 73 at-bats last season.

He doubled four times, knocked in 13 runs and scored 14 more.

A VND second-team pick in 2021, Kunst also was 3-1 with a 2.71 ERA in 31 innings over 13 appearances. He struck out 53 and walked 14.

He helped lead Highlands to a 13-7 overall record in 2022, a 6-4 mark in Section 1-4A and a trip to the WPIAL playoffs.

Kunst also earned first-team all-star honors during the Golden Rams basketball team’s deep postseason run.

He averaged a team-best 20.9 points as Highlands went 19-8 overall and qualified for the WPIAL semifinals and PIAA quarterfinals. He tied for the team lead in 3-point field goals with 51.

“It’s nice to know I have that commitment, but now is not the time to let down,” said Kunst, who will make his decision final during the letter of intent signing period in November.

“I know I have to work even harder now, not only for my upcoming basketball and baseball seasons, but to be better and be ready when the time comes for college.”

Michael Love is a TribLive reporter covering sports in the Alle-Kiski Valley and the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh. A Clearfield native and a graduate of Westminster (Pa.), he joined the Trib in 2002 after spending five years at the Clearfield Progress. He can be reached at mlove@triblive.com.

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