By Mike London
HIGH POINT – Wednesday was a great day for High Point University freshman Charlie Klingler.
The East Rowan graduate completed his first semester with a college degree, and took on monster chemistry and biology back to back. Then he still had time to fight against ornamental leaves and earn some money on his part-time job in landscaping before dark.
“Another day, another dollar, and now I have to take a break,” Klingler said. “I enjoyed my first semester in college, but the academic workload at High Point was eye-opening.”
To the surprise of no one who has seen him swing, the young catcher made an eye-opening of himself when Division I High Point held baseball attempts.
The coaches were not entirely surprised by Klingler. They had seen him play before. They knew he wanted to play.
“The coach called me three days before the tests started and said they would treat me like everyone else, and it was expected that I would do all the guys who were already on the team,” said Klingler. “It was a wonderful test, but the first thing I managed to show them in the weight room was that I am quite strong for my size. Then we started beating, and that’s what I do best. The coaches were happy with my result. There were a couple of catchers who could not be there, so I had to catch more than I expected. I got some bullpens, got a lot of looks like a catcher. ”
The first weekend of intrasquad games, Klingler got hot on the plate. He made just two outs in four games and was well on his way to earning the Panthers’ purple and white uniform.
“So the second weekend I came back to earth a little bit to use the coaches’ words,” Klingler said. “But when we finished this autumn’s world series. I managed. ”
Klingler did well enough that when he had his final meeting with the coaching staff, he was informed that he not only made the squad, he gets a shot in playing time. He will be expected to have a role on the team in the 2021 season.
Klingler was quite a ball player in the east. He is not a typical catch. He runs like an outfielder. He was athletic enough to play shortstop for the Mustangs when he was a freshman jayvee.
Besides being able to move, he is one of those guys who can roll out of bed and get a basic hit. Quick balls or kicks, up or down, in or out, it never played much for Klingler. The left-hander turned almost everything he saw into a line drive. He hit .358 in three seasons with the Mustangs. He may have challenged the .500 mark as a senior if COVID-19 had not killed the 2020 season when he was 11-for-20 and had coaches who shook their heads and jugs like ducks.
Klingler is not a household name because he chose to play for the South Charlotte Panthers show team for several years instead of the American Legion ball, but he appeared at Newman Park last summer to look after the Rowan County NC3 team and quickly established himself as the catcher and the leadoff man. He hit .385 with 37 points, 29 RBIs and 14 doubles despite a relatively short schedule. When the leadoff man is number two on the team in RBI, it indicates that he can beat.
Klingler struck out four times throughout the summer.
His hit philosophy is pretty basic. He does not think about.
“I try not to strike out,” Klingler said. “I also do not walk very much because I usually see a pitch I can beat before I can walk.”
Klingler may have attracted half a dozen scholarship offers to consider whether the East, which would probably have been a prime ministerial candidate in 3A, could have played out the 2020 season. There were coaches who had promised to come to watch Klingler, but suddenly there were no games to scout.
As much as the abrupt end of his high school career fluctuated, Klingler took everything in stride. As exceptional as he is at hitting baseball, he has always been a student first.
His college choice would always be based primarily on the academic side of things. His career goal is to become a dentist. High Point has a strong pre-dental program and it is only 40 miles from home.
High Point offers 47 majors. Klinglers sounds like the scariest of the 47 – biochemistry.
“I’d talked to the professors about being part of the baseball team,” Klingler said. “They said they had never had a guy on the baseball team go through the dental program. I know it’s going to be a challenge, but this is what I want to do.”
Klingler said that 75 percent of his classes in the first semester were personal, with 25 percent virtual. Like almost all students, he prefers to be in the classroom.
Now with some tough exams in the rearview mirror, he is taking a break, trying to save money and getting ready to tackle a unique combination of chemistry and baseball next semester.
He will return to the High Point campus in early January for weightlifting sessions, followed by the start of team exercises. College baseball seasons start early.
“Charlie can hit – he can really hit,” said Jim Gantt, who trained Klingler in NC3 baseball. “As a catch, he does not have the strongest arm, but he makes up for it with a very fast release. He also has a positive personality. He’s a fun guy to have on any team. ”