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June 15, 2013

The love of the game

Former Southeast Whitfield player leads Kennesaw State club team to title

One year playing at the collegiate level was enough for Southeast Whitfield High School graduate Caleb Moore to lose his love for baseball.

Then he started playing with people who shared the same experience, and together they reclaimed their passion for the game.

They also claimed a national championship.

Moore and his Kennesaw State University club baseball team captured the National Club Baseball Association Division II World Series last month in Paducah, Ky., defeating the Stephen F. Austin (Texas) squad 5-2 in the title contest.

Moore graduated from Southeast in 2009. He spent his freshman and senior seasons playing catcher, and sophomore and junior years in the outfield.

But it was the next level that crippled his spirit.

Moore began his collegiate career in middle Georgia at Brewton-Parker College, a two-year National Associa-tion of Intercollegiate Athletics institution. He only stayed at Brewton-Parker for one season before transferring to Kennesaw State, where he “didn’t have any intention” of playing baseball.

“I played at Brewton-Parker and it seemed like a job. It wasn’t fun to me there. They just made the love of the game go away,” Moore said.

Then he noticed a poster advertising a new club baseball team, and Moore decided to give it a try.

“The club team is self-run,” Moore said. “It’s mostly to have fun. That’s what I care about. I love winning, don’t get me wrong, but I was there just to have fun and continue playing as long as I can.”

Winning is what the squad spent most of the past three years doing. Moore joined for the inaugural season, and the Owls lost in the regionals, a four-team bracket between the conference schedule and the World Series. In 2012, Kennesaw State reached the World Series — a double-elimination, eight-team bracket — and finished third overall, one game shy of the finals.

In 2013, Moore and the Owls finished 24-2 overall and 15-0 in the District IV West Conference. At the World Series, the squad won each game and Moore won the MVP award. He finished the season 19-for-51 — a batting average of .376 — with 15 runs and 13 RBIs. In the World Series, he went 6-for-12, with seven RBIs in a 19-15 win versus the University of Maryland, and six runs scored.

“At Southeast, I never made it to the state playoffs. At Brewton-Parker, we were decent,” Moore said. “Finally being able to win something huge, with it possibly being my last year and me winning the MVP and World Series, if there’s a way to end it then that’s how I’d want to end it.”

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