DWS baseball counting on Moates, Kinslow against Tattnall

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

ALBANY -- Banks Kinslow and Christopher Moates could be described as polar opposites.

One is reserved at times but comes right at hitters when he's on the bump. The other never lacks for words but uses a sly approach on the mound.

The Deerfield-Windsor pitching duo's personalities contrast on and off the field, but the old "opposites attract" axiom applies with their friendship.

And it's a friendship began in the "little leagues" says Kinslow.

And it continued into their high school years, although the two were playing for separate teams until this season when Moates moved over to Deerfield from Lee County High.

"I was thrilled," Kinslow said when he found out his friend would also be his teammate. "I couldn't even describe it. You've got a good friend coming over, plus a good baseball player."

Friday, the two juniors will pitch together in the playoffs for the first time when the Knights host Tattnall Square Academy in the Elite Eight of the GISA Class AAA state tournament. Kinslow missed the opening round because he was sick, but fellow junior Rhett Cooper stepped in admirably with a 10-strikeout, complete-game effort to win Game 2 against Mount Vernon.

For Moates, the first-year experience with the Knights couldn't have worked out much better. He's mashed the ball from the No. 3 spot in the lineup and become a better pitcher under the tutelage of head coach Rod Murray, who pitched at Georgia Southwestern during his college days. Murray has worked on the big righthander's curveball, helping to give it more bite.

"(Murray) knows a lot about what he's talking about," said Moates, who is 4-1 on the season. "I was throwing a slider and he showed me how to throw a curveball that moves a lot more."

With Kinslow out in the opening playoff series, Moates mowed through Mount Vernon in his first playoff appearance, striking out 10 in a complete-game performance. Kinslow expects to be 100 percent for Friday's series opener against Tattnall, but both players said Cooper is the key in case a third game is needed.

"(Cooper) pitching will take some pressure off us," Moates said.

Moates is the harder thrower. He runs it up there in the mid-80s most of the time. He's also the quieter pitcher, letting his play do the talking and rarely showing his emotions on the field.

Murray said the Knights' coaches immediately knew Moates would be an ideal fit on the team and that his demeanor is perfect for high pressure situations in the playoffs.

"We knew we were getting a quality kid," Murray said. "Naturally, we were excited about it. He doesn't get real high, doesn't get real low. The ship is always nice and calm with him."

Kinslow, on the other hand, wears his emotions on his sleeve.

"Banks is a very exciting kid," Murray said. "At the same time, he leads by example. He'll come in the dugout and get the kids up."

Kinslow leads the Knights' trio of pitchers with a 9-1 record, picking up several wins in relief as well as a starter. Kinslow's pitching philosophy is complex, but only he can describe it best.

"I'm the offspeed (pitcher) that likes to be tricky and I like to work fast," Kinslow said. "I'll shake you off about four times and I'll stare you down. I just like to confuse you. I'm not the one that can throw it by you, so I've got to find different ways to get you out."

Well said.

Despite their differences, Kinslow and Moates forged a friendship on the diamond that eventually brought the two back together on the same team in search of a state championship.

"We've grown up playing baseball and we've always been good friends," Kinslow said. "How much luckier can you get?"