Overcoming all odds – Austin Kitterman signs to play college baseball
It was a year to the day since Austin Kitterman had taken a cognitive test to determine whether he could return to school with his class, following a near-fatal ATV accident.
“This time last year, he was still in Shepherd (Center),” remembers mother Vicki Kitterman. “Around this time last year, they told me he would never play sports again.”
And yet, Golden Tiger Kitterman was signing to play college baseball at Union University – joined by teammate Reed Smith signing with Mississippi State University – in a moment he called a dream come true.
“Today is a day every kid dreams of,” Kitterman said. “To be able to play this game and to play at a high level – I’m just grateful God has given me that.”
Kitterman, who helped take his team to state champs last season, finished the season with a .356 AVG at the plate and 19 walks. His baseball skill was evident to Union.
“We’re really excited to bring Austin into this family. We were very impressed with the ability he has but also the potential he has. We think he has a really high ceiling, and he’s only going to get better,” said recruiting coordinator and assistant coach Brance Rivera.
But in addition to baseball prowess, Rivera said Union, a Christian school, was also impressed by Kitterman’s character.
“We just felt like he’s a really good fit for this university,” said Brance, “and we’re glad he felt this university was good fit for him.”
Kitterman said he has felt called into the ministry since middle school, and seeing the response of people following his accident – his community coming together to pray for him, and being able to witness people being saved after hearing his testimony – cemented that decision.
“This is why this is happening,” Kitterman remembers realizing. “This is full assurance this is what God wants me to do with my life.”
RHS baseball Coach Chris Heaps said he was proud for Kitterman and praised his choice to both continue baseball but also to pursue ministry. He said the scholarship signing was a positive thing not only for Kitterman but for the RHS program as a whole – and a good example to other RHS baseball athletes.
“The younger players have a blueprint to follow: ‘This is the standard I need to meet if I want to go on (and play college ball),’” Heaps said.