PREP BASEBALL

Merrillville's Kenny Wright finds right spot in right field

2011-04-07T22:00:00Z 2011-04-08T22:35:21Z Merrillville's Kenny Wright finds right spot in right fieldBy Hillary Smith hillary.smith@nwi.com, (219) 933-3233 nwitimes.com

Kenny Wright and two of his closest friends realized they had something to say.

The three started a blog, that covers music and fashion, priding itself on being "uniquely simple."

The enterprise is a kick-start to a career for Wright, the Merrillville right fielder. With a scholarship to Kentucky State already in hand, the senior plans to major in marketing and business, joining his friends after graduation in their joint endeavors.

"We always listen to music and talk about fashion, and we wanted to share the things we learned about it with other people," Wright said.

By keeping their blog updated and leaving bread crumbs to find it on Twitter, the "Be Uniquely Simple" blog has logged nearly 4,000 hits in its three months on the Internet. The dedication of Wright and his friends, Monte Gates and Mike Gillis, is part of what has made Wright the four-year starter in the Pirates outfield.

An A and B student, Wright has become a catalyst for other players on his team, Merrillville coach Mark Schellinger said.

"He has his scholarship, and it has been a benefit to the younger players," Schellinger said. "I know one player in particular, who isn't necessarily taking his grades too seriously, he started asking about Kenny's grades, and when I told him that Kenny has good grades, I think it was a wake-up call that he needed to hit the books a little bit if he wants to continue at the next level."

The dedication in the classroom, and to his future, translates easily onto the baseball field. Even after signing with the Division II Thorobreds, Wright spent his offseason seeing live pitching and perfecting his swing.

He's collected six RBIs in the young season for the 3-2 Pirates, all six in an 8-1 win over Griffith on Tuesday.

"I'm a lot more relaxed at the plate," Wright said. "This winter, I learned that I don't have to do as much. I just have to relax."

"He's been more patient, and that has always been an issue with Kenny," Schellinger said. "The skills were there, but the patience wasn't always there. He finally understands that the ball is moving toward him. He doesn't have to go get it."

Wright said that Kentucky State was impressed with his swing and his speed. Starting in center field as a freshman and sophomore, Wright was moved to right to make way for another youngster last season. He took it all in stride and keeps his speed at the forefront of his game. He has three stolen bases through five games, six runs, three hits and a double.

Wright is the younger brother of Merrillville sprinter Candace Wright, who ran track at Indiana University.

"Since Kenny came in as a freshman, we always knew he was a kid who could play at the next level," Schellinger said. "He always played year round on various travel teams, and his dad was involved, and baseball has always been important to the family."

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