Former Illiana Christian and University of Kentucky baseball star Braden Kapteyn has retired from baseball at the age of 23.
Kapteyn, The Times 2008 Illinois baseball player of the year, was pitching for the Greenville (S.C.) Drive, a Boston Red Sox Class A affiliate in the South Atlantic League. He announced his retirement on June 6.
Kapteyn said he just missed being away from his family and has taken a sales position in Lexington, Ky. for a heavy equipment company.
"I got to the point where I missed being away from them," Kapteyn said. "I loved baseball, but I love my family more."
Kapteyn and his wife Natalie, also an Illiana Christian grad, have a 9-month-old daughter Ellie. They lived in Lexington while Kapteyn was in Greenville.
"I was always on the road and I wanted to be with them," he said.
Kapteyn said while Class A salaries are not great, money was not the deciding factor.
The 6-foot-4 Kapteyn was the Red Sox 15th-round pick in the 2011 draft and he left Kentucky after his junior season. He was originally drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 39th round of the 2008 draft, but opted to attend Kentucky.
Kapteyn appeared in 41 games over a little more than two seasons with the Red Sox organization, the first two with Lowell (Mass.) of the New York-Penn League. This year for Greenville he was 1-1 with a 4.58 ERA in 17 2/3 innings pitched. His last game was May 18 vs. Charleston when he pitched two innings, giving up three hits and two earned runs.
At Illiana, Kapteyn was a Louisville Slugger High School All-American and was named to the all-state team in 2008. The Lansing native was the most valuable player in the Private School League in 2008 as he hit .552 with 16 doubles, seven home runs, 44 RBIs and led the Vikings to a Class 3A regional championship. A four-year starter for coach Dave Beezhold, Kapteyn stole 163 bases in his prep career and holds the school record for batting average (.492).