Henshaw Set For Big Knight




 

This article originally appeared in the May 29, 2009 issue of the New York Post, and was written by Dan Martin.

 

Joey Henshaw thought about playing in the SEC and talked to schools like Georgia Tech when he was starring at North Hall High School in Lula, Ga.

"I had always wanted to play big-time college baseball," the 6-foot-7, 250-pound sophomore said. "But I decided I wanted it to be more than about baseball. I wanted to do something for the greater good."

That's one of the reasons the lefty first baseman/pitcher went to West Point. And just like he would have at a bigger program, Henshaw will be in the NCAA Tournament when the Black Knights face Texas tonight in a regional game in Austin.

"One day, baseball will be over and there's no better place to prepare myself for that than to come to West Point," said Henshaw, who's hitting .394 with a team-high 11 homers and 67 RBIs. With a strong arm -- that he injured last year -- and considerable power at the plate, that day may be quite a ways off.

For now, Henshaw and his fourth-seeded teammates will face the top-seeded Longhorns in the first game of the double-elimination regional. They share a bracket with No. 3 Boston College and No. 2 Texas State.

"It's not every day you get to play against the best teams in the country," said Henshaw of his 34-19 team, which qualified for the tournament by winning the Patriot League title. "Texas has some of the best pitching, but we feel that we can swing the bats with the best of them."

Army also made the tournament under coach Joe Sottolano in 2000, 2004 and 2005.

"This is a special place, but the beauty is that it's not for everyone," said Sottolano. "To come here, especially in a time of war, makes these guys different. But once they're on the field, they're just like the other team."

That changes once the game ends, especially with the five-year commitment to the military upon graduation.

"Some guys will stay for military training, some go to different military bases, where you shadow officers," said Henshaw. "Other guys have leave. Hopefully, we'll be playing baseball for a while longer."

He is unsure of what his future is in the military. He's studying pre-law, but he wouldn't mind following in the steps of Nick Hill, a West Point grad now pitching in Double-A in the Mariners system.

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