Baseball becomes Knight Sandstrom’s travel guide

Telegraph photo by TOM KING Nashua Silver Knights outfielder Kyle Sandstrom has been one of the team's best hitters in the early part of the season.

NASHUA – Kyle Sandstrom should really work for a travel agency. He’s got a ton of tips for those who like to live life out of a suitcase from time to time.

For example, he’s found the best way to see the country: play college baseball, especially in the summer.

Sandstrom, a native of Ferndle, Wash., has used the game to visit all parts of the U.S. He’s played summer ball in California, has played college baseball in his home state, in California, and currently all the way across the country in Charlseston, S.C.

And now he’s in New Hampshire, in the northeast.

“My coach (Charleston Southern University’s Adam Ward) asked me where I wanted to play this summer,” said Sandstrom, who at last look was hitting .310 with three doubles, a homer and a team high 14 RBIs for the Knights. “I kind of said the northeast region would be cool, so I kind of ended up here.”

Why the Great Northeast? Simple. He hadn’t seen it before.

“I’m from Washington, I played in Cali, too, and I’m going to school in South Carolina,” Sandstrom said. “I figured I might as well go to all four corners, playin the northeast, and see different parts of the country.”

So how does he like the New England region so far, even with the horrendous weather this spring?

“I like it,” Sandstrom said. “I’m a fan. It’s pretty similar to Washington weatherwise.”

“He lives in Washington, he plays in the Cal League, he’s played (college) in California already, he’s in Charleston, S.C.and now he’s in New Hampshire,” Silver Knights manager B.J. Neverett said, chuckling at Sandstrom’s travels. “And he’s done really well, and we’re happy to have him.”

Sandstrom cemented the deal by sending Neverett a video.

“He sent me an email and a video, I saw him running, saw him in some game action, and I took him,” Neverett said. “I got right back to him and I said, ‘I’ve got a spot for you.’

“I liked his swing and he runs pretty good, and that’s all I saw. It looked like he had some pop, and it was a left-handed bat. He transferred to Charleston Southern, which is pretty good baseball so I said, ‘Sure, I’ll take a shot with this guy.'”

It’s been a shot work taking so far.

Let’s follow Sandstrom’s collegiate travels. He played junior college ball at Lower Columbia College in Longview, Wash., ranked in the top 15 in the country, because he didn’t have a lot of college looks out of high school. Then he headed to to Sacramento State this past year but didn’t feel comfortable there. But one of his teammates from Lower Columbia, Sam Trend-Beacom, was already at Charleston Southern, and he said, “It’s really nice over here, you ought to come and check it out.”

He did just that, going for a visit,and subsequently transferred this year. And get this: Trend-Beacom is from Australia, which you know will eventually help add to Sandstrom’s travels.

“It’s a whole different culture, and it took me a while to understand what he’s saying,” he said.

Right now, Sandstrom is doing his talking with his bat. He is hitting well, especially with men on base. “The main goal is to get a good pitch you think you can drive, do something with it, but not try to do too much,” he said. “Stay within yourself.”

“There’s some guys, you get two strikes on him, you kind of get a little worried,” Neverett said. “But not him. He’ll work a count. He grinds out his at-bats.”

Defensively, he’s adjusted, especially to the tough right field, a sun field the first few innings this time of year.

“B.J.has kind of moved me around,” Sandstrom said. “I think I’ve played all three outfield spots so far. Not trying to get too comfortable in one spot, just being flexible, and being able to do whatever they asked of me.”

Sandstrom says the FCBL is similar to the West Coast League, where he played a year ago, as far as talent goes. “Atmosphere wise it’s pretty cool,” he said. “Facility-wise, fan base-wise, it’s a fun experience.”

Last summer he was with the Cowlitz Black Bears, in Longview, Wash. But the team played in a league (the WCL) that had teams in Oregon and also Canada.

“The players are from all over the country, too,” the 6-0, 185-pound Sandstrom said. “It’s kind of cool to see all those guys come together, play against guys from big schools, in front of big crowds, and you get to go across the border.”

Sandstrom studies business/human resources at Charleston. He’s like to continue his baseball career after school, if possible.

“I’d say so, that’s obviously the main goal,” he said. “Get me through school, baseball helped pay for it, you know. Hopefully have a good couple more years, maybe get the chance at minor league ball. If not, just be able to get my degree out of baseball, and go into the work force.”

Before that happens, as Sandstrom has college eligibility and thus at least one more year of summer ball eligibility, Neverett would like him to play more than one season in Nashua. But we all know now how Sandstrom likes his travels.

“I’d like to get him back, he has two more years of (college) eligibility left. I’d like to get him back. He’s enjoying his experience here.”

Yes, seeing the country through baseball.

“That’s been the cool part,” Sandstrom said, “for sure. That’s my main goal with summer ball – go somewhere I haven’t been.”

And from what can be seen, Kyle Sandstrom travels pretty well.