NOTE: THE 2024 LSU BASEBALL RECRUITING CLASS IS CONSIDERED ONE OF THE MOST HIGHLY RANKED CLASSES IN THE HISTORY OF THE SPORT. CULTURE MEDIA STAFF WRITER DAVID FOLSE II SITS DOWN WITH THE ALL-TIME HOME RUN HITTER IN NEBRASKA HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL HISTORY IN OUTFIELDER KALE FOUNTAIN
Nobody in the history of the state of Nebraska has hit more high school home runs than Kale Fountain.
Did we mention, he still has a year of prep baseball to go?
The Lincoln native has had a banner first three years of his high school career, crushing 26 home runs, and now, as he enters his final season at Norris High School, the 6-5, 229-pound senior reflected on it.
“As we get to the closer end of summer it is starting to hit me,” he said. “Some of my 2023 teammates are headed to college campus to begin college life so it is all starting to get real for me. This is going to be the last year. A year from now, I’m going to be out of my house and living on campus. I’m starting to realize that. It’s going very quick, but I’m not going to take that time for granted.
(on what he has learned in his three years thus far in high school) “I’ve always been a mature kid. I’ve continued to learn that treating people with respect is the kind of person I want to continue to become and it will pave the path of a future that is successful. There are a lot of things in life that can bring you up and down, but if your natural instinct is to be respectful and handle your business that way, you are going to be okay.”
Fountain has had to go through things you don’t wish on anyone, including losing his older brother Jaren in a tragic car accident.
“It forces you to grow up quicker than you can ever imagine,” Fountain said of having to deal with the death of his big brother. “Becoming the big brother of the family and having to deal with that and seeing how your parents deal with that, it teaches you a lot about resiliency. You take a step back and refocus on some things in life and how you deal with life that you may have gotten away from.
“It also reminds me that the time you have and the moments you have in life are precious. I started to appreciate the things in life and has helped me have a better outlook on life overall.”
At the plate, Fountain continues to grow not only in physical stature, but also in terms of his skillset.
“As a freshman I was around 6-2, 180,” he said. “Once I started growing physically bigger I started to gain more and more confidence in myself. It wasn’t so much about the ability, because I knew I was going to put the work in. But, when you mix those two things together, it has really led to a big summer for me heading into my senior season.
(on his power output increasing) “I’ve always been a big guy, so the power numbers increasing in one sense didn’t surprise me. Even when I was younger I was bigger than a lot of guys so I could out strength the game if that makes sense.
“Once I really got bigger and realized I could put on more muscle I knew I was going to lose anything, I knew it was going to be a power profile for me at the plate. My mechanics are for power hitting.”
One of the great benefits to being in Nebraska, Fountain, who has been to the College World Series in Omaha multiple times, was actually in the stands for LSU’s game one championship series victory over Florida.
“I’m about an hour away,” he said. “Been to see LSU for as long as I can remember in Omaha. I was there when Beloso hit the home run. It was an eye-opening experience, because it has been a dream of mine to play in the College World Series. I’m going to a school that can come back here to Omaha, multiple times.”
Echoing the sentiments of Konnor Griffin, Fountain said the highly acclaimed 2024 class is very much starting to become quick friends.
“I played with Derek Curiel and at various tournaments I have hung out with Matthew Champion, Cade Arrambide and hung out with Konnor a couple of times. I even ran into John Pearson at the CWS. Being around those guys and seeing how they go about their business in a similar way that I do shows how we are going to work together as a group. The culture foundation is already been laid.
“Coach Johnson wants us to stay in touch so when we do get to campus it is not something cultural wise we have to work on. We just hit the field and get to work. Hopefully that work will lead us to be dog-piling in Omaha in a couple of years.”