By Spenser Potter
Photos by Scott G. Winterton (DeseretNews.com) & Kurt Johnson
The Bingham High baseball team has been enjoying a year of success. The Miners lost just three times during the regular season and finished unbeaten in region games, and with the state tournament starting, the team is on fire.
Despite that 22-3 record, the team is ranked just No. 4 in Class 5A by one of the state’s major newspapers and No. 3 by the other as the state playoffs begin and that leaves work to do. The Miners’ success this year cannot be attributed to just one person or even a select few, but to an entire team that has been working hard and staying together.
There are a few players, however, who have displayed exceptional skill that they stick out just a little bit. One of those players is Sean Keating. The junior shows an exceptional talent for the game.
Keating first starting playing baseball at nine years old. He was peer-pressured into join the local city league, and it turns out his peers were wise. He has not stopped playing since.
Through the years, the left-hander played on super league and all-star teams and found out that he was particularly skilled as a pitcher, posing a threat to anyone who steps up to the plate. He also discovered a talent for first base. Keating has been playing the game for seven years now and loves every minute of it.
When Keating arrived at Bingham and joined the baseball team, he immediately felt at home, as several of the other players had been his teammates in the city league. Even as a young player, he knew he wanted to go to Bingham.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Keating said. “Especially because I was already friends with most of the team, it was really easy to become comfortable and be a part of the team.”
Keating has certainly been a contributing factor to the number of wins the team has experienced this year. He bounces between pitcher and first base, usually as one of the team’s starters on the mound, but moving to the bag when he is not throwing.
The southpaw is 8-1 as a pitcher, averaging more than 1.5 strikeouts per inning pitched and carrying a 1.80 ERA. Keating has become a key defensive player to the team, handling the glove almost as well as he handles opposing hitters.
But this junior is more than just a one-way top performer. Keating has a batting average well above .400 and he is among the state leaders with nine doubles and 22 RBIs.
With these kinds of stats, what does he do to be that good?
“As a team, we practice almost every day we don’t have a game,” Keating said. “Then, if I can, I’ll go to a batting cage, or get some additional lessons in pitching. It helps me stay focused on the fundamentals.”
It has certainly paid off. In addition to the practices and the extra training, he still maintains a social life, hanging out with friends and playing basketball. He balances it all well.
Keating says that he does not want to stop playing after high school, but hopes to “…take baseball as far as it can go.”
While he hasn’t decided on what to do after he graduates, his talent has caught the attention of some colleges already. Potential scholarships and opportunities are right in front of him, which could lead him to the dream of playing in the Major Leagues.
Even though he would love to play for his favorite team, the Yankees, he would be just as excited to play for any team. More important than what he has become between the lines, Keating credits baseball for the person he is when he is not on the diamond.
“It has taught me to be a better person, realize that there are hard things in life, and find the strength to get through them,” Keating said.