Prep Baseball Report

Q&A with Drury Commit, OF Riley Herron (Kickapoo, 2016)

Shon Plack
Missouri Scouting Director

Riley Herron (Kickapoo, 2016) led the Chiefs to an appearance in the Class 5 Final Four this season and headed to the Oklahoma for the Junior Sunbelt Games shortly after his team finished with a third place finish in the state tournament.  With everything going on, Herron chose to stay in Springfield and commit to Drury University.  

Herron is a 6-foot-2 190-pound left-handed hitting outfielder. He was named to as a Second-Team All-State Outfielder by the MHSBCA, and finished the season .315 batting average with eight doubles and ten RBI.  On the mound, he had a 1.40 ERA, with 39 strikeouts to only 13 walks in 30.1 innings of work. 

Recently, Herron had a chance to answer some questions about his career and recruiting process.

PBR: What were your expectations about the recruiting process? Was it as expected? Easy/Difficult?

Herron: I didn’t really know what to expect going into the recruiting process. I knew my coaches at Kickapoo would give me plenty of opportunities to showcase my skills at various tournaments, so for me it was just about going out and playing hard every game and letting everything else play out on its own. Overall the process went smoothly for me and wasn’t all that difficult.

PBR: Did location or distance from home play a factor in your decision?

Herron: -Yes it did, I love the Midwest and have always had a desire to try and stay within a few hours of Springfield. This would make going home easy for me and allow my family to be able to come and watch me play. 

PBR: Where did Drury first see you? How did your relationship develop with them?

Herron: I’m not quite sure where Drury first saw me, although I do know that they were at several of the tournaments we played in last summer, most notably the Hawgs Showcase tournament in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The first time I spoke with Coach Nasby was at a Drury showcase at the beginning of July, and the relationship continued to grow from there.

PBR: What were you looking for out of a college program to continue your baseball career at?

Herron: I wanted to attend a college where I would acquire an upper level education. On top of this I wanted to play for a successful baseball program that could help me develop both as a player and a man.

PBR: What advice would you give to young baseball players striving to get where you are?

Herron: Never take any pitch, at bat, or play for granted. You never know who may be watching and what doors may open or close based on your level of effort. Devote time to improving all aspects of the game. Most importantly, be coachable and show interest in becoming a student of the game so that you can be a baseball player, and not just a kid who plays baseball.

PBR: What do you do in the offseason to keep yourself in baseball shape and prepare for the upcoming season?

Herron: I play basketball during the winter to help keep me conditioned. Outside of that I lift weights 3-4 times a week, as well as take time to receive pitching instruction and hit during each week.

PBR: What do you like most about Drury to and what were the key factors in making your decision?

Herron: Drury is very prestigious and well known for providing a top notch education to anyone who attends the school. For me I have always put education before sports, so knowing that Drury is a quality school definitely played a role in my decision. The baseball program has been very successful the last three years, and the coaching staff is very devoted to continuing this success by developing a quality team. I am very competitive and love to win so seeing this trend within the baseball program made me want to join it.

PBR:  What other schools were on your short list before you made your final decision?

Herron: Other schools that showed initial interest throughout the recruiting process included Kansas State, Arkansas, SLU, Bradley, and Fort Scott Community College.

Herron: When did the recruiting process really start to heat up for you? Was there a particular game or event that you feel turned the corner for you?

Herron: I believe it was in a game in the Hawgs Showcase tournament last summer. Our Kickapoo summer team played a close game with the Arkansas Express, losing 5-3. There were many scouts there and I happened to have a really good game against future D1 pitching. This was the game I feel like I showcased my skills really well and made a name for myself in front of a lot of college coaches.

PBR:  Review your high school season for us. Was there a defining moment in the season where you knew that Kickapoo would be one of the four finalists for the state championship?

Herron: The entire season we believed we were a team that could make a run for a state championship, and I think our come from behind win in the bottom of the 7th inning against Ozark in the district championship game was a huge boost for our team. After that game we got hot and played well as a team, really embracing the underdog spotlight that we lived in for much of the postseason.

PBR: Describe your experience at the Junior Sunbelt Tournament.

Herron: It was very fun to meet and play with other talented players from throughout Missouri. The best part by far was facing quality pitching against teams loaded with D1 talent. It was a good experience and helped improve me as a baseball player.

PBR: Where do you play in the summer? And what has been your most memorable experience with them?

Herron: In the summer I play with our Kickapoo summer 18U team. The team is made up of a lot of guys that I have played with since 6th grade, some as far back as 2nd grade. I think the most memorable part is getting to grow as a baseball player with guys that I have been playing with for many years now. It also helps us with team bonding in preparation for our next spring season.

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