BATON ROUGE, La. – Not everyone in Roaring Springs, Pennsylvania dreamed of going to LSU, but this was Paxton Kling’s goal.
A Pennsylvania kid’s dream; Paxton Kling’s road to LSU BaseballA.J. Hoenstine, Paxton Kling’s high school coach
“Starting his freshman year, he could have gone wherever he wanted to,” Coach Hoenstine said.
Kling was sold on playing baseball at the Box, and verbally committed to LSU during his freshman year of high school.
But then, a coaching change happened.
“He decommitted when I was hired,” said LSU head coach Jay Johnson.
“I’ll be honest, I was pissed at first,” laughed Johnson.
“I was sitting in my hotel room for about 15 minutes,” Johnson continued. “I was like, All right. I picked up the phone and I called him back. I was like, ‘Hey, I get it. I want to re-recruit you.'”
“He said, ‘This is what I want to do. There’s nowhere else better to play college baseball than LSU,'” Hoenstine said.
Hoenstine said Johnson’s commitment to building a relationship set him apart from other college coaches.
“We have quite a few kids playing college baseball and I don’t necessarily hear from them, and here’s the number one team in the country’s coach, you know, asking, some things to help Paxton out. He’s very respectful and he cares a lot about him,” said Hoenstine.
The true freshman outfielder is already making a statement as a Tiger, averaging 391 at the plate and hitting his first collegiate home run against Butler.
“It was going fair and I was after first, so I just tried to keep going with it and just hoping that it was fair,” Kling explained.
“I think he’s been seeing the ball real well. I would often kid with him that he’s a better two strike hitter than no strikes,” said Hoenstine.
“The talent and athletic talent is special, but he’s a great human being too. We’re going to be better with him here in a lot of ways,” said Johnson.