By Mike Deak
SYRACUSE – It was as if he was born to be a ball player. Having a dad, Joe, who was a successful baseball player in his playing days, Wawasee High School senior Kam Salazar is following in dad’s footsteps and choosing to play baseball for Todd Bacon and Marian University in Indianapolis.
It was also a historical day for Wawasee baseball, as Salazar was announced as not only the Region I Player of the Year, but also an Indiana All-Star, the first at Wawasee since Rod Holderman in 1997.
Salazar has been one of the keys to Wawasee baseball’s 15-win regular season. In 27 games played, Salazar is cracking the baseball to the tune of a .420 batting average and carries a .564 on-base percentage. He has 37 hits, 16 of those for extra bases including eight doubles, seven triples and one homer. He also has 16 RBI and nine stolen bases and has a whopping 45 runs scored in just 88 at-bats.
As a pitcher, Salazar is 4-3 with a 3.95 ERA and 1.41 WHIP and has a 3:2 strikeout to walk ratio (33/22). In the field, Salazar has a .924 fielding percentage with just nine errors in nearly 110 chances.
“He’s a great kid all around, not just on the baseball field or on the court,” said Wawasee head coach Brent Doty, who made the announcement about the North-South All-Star honor during the signing. “Regardless of where he is playing on offense or defense, he is going to make you a better baseball team. That is going to continue as he progresses in his baseball career, no doubt, and he’ll really help Marian become a better program.”
The four-year baseball player was a 2019 All-NLC selection and is also a team captain, a distinction he has carried for all three varsity sports he played in 2020-21.
“I’m trying to just go with the next at-bat, next pitch mentality,” Salazar said. “I’m just trying to find a way on. If I get down in the count, I’m trying to square the ball up and put it in play. Just trying to make things happen.”
In football, Salazar was also an All-NLC performer in 2020 and was an Honorable Mention All-Conference selection in 2019. The IFCA Region 2 All-Star caught 41 passes for 450 yards and three touchdowns this past season, and added 182 return yards and 32 rushing yards for the Warriors. As a defensive back, Salazar made 69 total stops with an interception and two fumble recoveries.
In basketball, Salazar ran point for the Warriors en route to a sectional semi-finals appearance. Salazar led the team in assists at nearly four per game, scored 4.5 points per night, was third on the team in rebounding bringing in three per night, and led the team in steals.
The all-around student athlete carries a 3.55 GPA and was a Scholar Athlete in all three sports. On hand for the signing were well over 75 of his teammates, friends, family members and staff, including a bulk of his former coaches.
Marian went 25-29 this past season, finishing one game below in the Crossroads (17-19). Led by coach Todd Bacon, the Knights feature three common opponents from Salazar’s playing days at Wawasee in the Northridge duo of Davis Enright and Andrew Gayler, along with Angola alum Chase Soulliere.
“He’s athletic, first and foremost” said Bacon, who was on hand Monday for the ceremony. Bacon, who has coached at Marian for the past 21 years, coached at Goshen for the 10 years prior, which included coaching Kam’s dad, Joe. “I’ve known the family for years, so I knew I was getting toughness and intensity. That’s the number one thing that stood out to me watching Kam play. You add in he has natural gifts as a player, and add in baseball smarts, and you have one heckuva player.”
At Marian, Salazar plans to begin a career in education. If the stars align, Salazar would like to return to the Syracuse area and teach, and possibly get into athletic administration and coaching.
“Sometimes it was tough taking some tougher academic courses, but I knew it would help me down the line,” Salazar said. “Putting academics first and making sure I give myself time athletically, I feel like I have a good balance. My dad has always helped me, he made sure I did the right things.”