Palm Beach Central High School varsity baseball catcher Kyle Perkins committed to play baseball at the University of Central Florida earlier this month, an achievement he considers a “dream come true.”
“I’m really excited,” said the scholar-athlete, who grew up playing baseball in Wellington’s recreational and travel programs. “I started playing baseball when I was 5 years old.”
As a member of the Wellington Warriors travel baseball team, Perkins made it to play in Cooperstown, N.Y., twice. He also played for the American Legion and the South Florida Clippers. He was later part of the first-ever conference-winning baseball team at Polo Park Middle School.
Though Perkins has experience pitching, catching and playing the infield, he said he enjoys catching because it gives him the opportunity to control the game.
“I like commanding the field,” he said. “I can see every single play and can tell the pitcher what to throw, or tell the guys where to throw it.”
He also knows what to expect from his position at home plate.
“I’m in every play,” he said. “I’m not sitting back waiting for the ball to come to me. I know what’s coming.”
A senior at PBCHS, Perkins joined the varsity baseball team last year and won the Varsity Baseball Coaches Award for his efforts on and off the field.
“That was a big deal for me,” Perkins said. “It was my first year playing varsity.”
Perkins is not just an exemplary baseball player; he also excels in the classroom, where he maintains a high GPA and is enrolled in advanced courses. He is also dedicated to his community and has more than 160 hours of community service logged. Perkins is part of the community-service oriented BETA National Honor Society and has spent many summers teaching children how to play baseball.
Currently, Perkins is the varsity catcher and co-captain of the Broncos under the tutelage of head coach Scott Benedict, who Perkins credits with helping him catch the attention of UCF coach Terry Rooney.
“Anyone who knows coach [Benedict] knows that he’s a really great coach,” Perkins said. “When he says he’s got a good player, they know he’s telling the truth. I think his reputation helped me.”
And with Benedict’s coaching, Perkins said he will be well prepared for playing at UCF.
“[Benedict] treats it like a college team, which I really like,” he said. “He really motivates us. He treats it like a whole year program. I saw a UCF practice, and it was very similar to ours — very fast paced. I felt like I’d be able to keep up with them.”
Perkins said he was attracted to UCF because of its rising baseball team as well as its academics. “It’s a growing school,” he said. “Their baseball team is in the top 25, and I thought it would be great to play there. I then found out that they have a great engineering program, and that’s what I want to major in.”
Perkins showcased for UCF in November and was invited to tour the school in February. The tour ended with an offer from the university to attend and play baseball.
Perkins’ mother, Deanna, said that the UCF coaches were impressed with his style behind the plate. “There were many catchers to choose from,” she said. “They were impressed not only by the talent be brought, but by his intensity behind the plate. Nobody else talked. That stuck out to [the coaches at UCF]. They told him that when they made the offer.”
Perkins said he was taught to command the game by not only Benedict, but also coach Pedro Gavillian, who was a professional catcher.
“I want to thank both [coaches] for always pushing me to be my best,” Perkins said. “I’d also like to thank Terry Rooney for this amazing opportunity, and my parents and brother for their love and encouragement on and off the field.”
Above: Kyle Perkins visits the University of Central Florida.