By Trey McCurry.
Last season, Spencer Kieboom spent the vast majority of the regular-season as Clemson’s third-string catcher. In the ACC Tournament finale against #6 Georgia Tech, Kieboom was inserted into the Tiger lineup and went 3-for-4 with two runs to lead Clemson to a 9-3 victory. He never gave the starting job back up and started all 11 games behind the plate for the Tigers during their NCAA Tournament run. Kieboom finished the season 15-for-57 (.263) with five doubles, 10 RBI, and 10 runs in 30 games (13 starts).
Kieboom recently sat down with TheClemsonInsider.com to look back on last season and what lies ahead for the Tigers in 2011.
“Last year was a special year. I felt that being a new guy, the other guys took everyone in as if we had been playing together for years. We faced adversity and had our successes throughout the year, so that is how when the going got tough we were able to stick it out and do what we had to do to win. Personally, I could not have planned or foresaw what was going to happen with me. Going to Omaha and playing in Rosenblatt was a dream come true.”
As mentioned earlier, Kieboom was a latecomer to the starting lineup and spoke about that and having such an impact in the post-season. “It felt amazing,” said #22. “It was almost surreal at first. It was something I had wanted to do all season. Coach always said to be patient, keep working, and good things will happen. All I can say is it was just an amazing experience. Making it to Omaha and having a great run was one of the best feelings I have ever had.”
Speaking of Omaha, Kieboom echoed many of his teammates thoughts on the trip. “Being one of the last teams to play at Rosenblatt was a good accomplishment for our team. For me it did not feel that much different since I felt our team was there for business. Unfortunately, we did not get to completely finish. With a lot of guys returning this year, we have the experience and understanding of what it takes to get to Omaha so we should be even more ready this year.”
Looking back, the now sophomore has several favorite memories from last season. “It was great beating Georgia Tech in Greensboro in the ACC Tournament. My favorite post-season memory was when Jeff Schaus caught the last out to send us to Omaha. In Omaha, my favorite memory was the opening ceremonies because it was like ‘Wow, this is a special place.’”
Kieboom spent the summer in Clemson working out in the weight room and on his swing. With the extra time, he was ready to jump right into the weight program and get on the field again once school started in the fall and transitioned to a strong “fall ball” season for him. “I felt fall ball went pretty well. By the end, I was feeling more confident at the plate and behind it. I am just ready to get out there in the spring.”
With the season just a few months away, Kieboom talked about his expectations for the 2011 season. “I expect us to be the national champions and I want to do whatever I can to help us make it back to Omaha and bring home that number one ranking and the national championship trophy.”
Hopefully for Tiger fans, Kieboom is right and the best is still yet to come for him and his Clemson teammates in 2011.