KITCHENER – Former Kitchener Panther Keith Kandel is taking his running game down the road to Guelph this summer.
Kandel, the import American fielder who stole 20 bases for the Panthers last year, has agreed to play for the Guelph Royals in 2014, according to a tweet by the team’s director of baseball operations Neil Srivastava.
Kandel, 25, managed 30 hits and 20 runs batted in for a .248 batting average last year. He said he wanted to set a new Intercounty Baseball League record for stolen bases, but a lack of playing time and opportunities to get on base cut his goal short.
The five-foot-eight athlete from Fresno, California polished his stealing technique playing professionally in independent leagues in Texas and Hawaii, before coming north to Canada. While at Becker College in Massachusetts, the Californian swiped 35 bases in 42 attempts.
“Usually pitchers will have certain giveaways that they’re not aware of, whether it's a certain amount of time from when they come set to when they deliver, or a look home when they're trying to pick you off,” he said, in an interview last summer.
“Any little advantage you can get helps. As soon as I get that timing down, I take off, and it gives me a better jump.”
Beside his speed on the best paths, Kandel may be remembered for being at the center of a brawl with the Brantford Red Sox at the end of the first playoffs game last August.
Kandel and the Royals begin their season opener on Sunday May 11 in Barrie, and will meet up with the Panthers for their home opener on Victoria Day, May 19.