has set the bar mighty high when it comes to stolen bases in the state of Kansas.
The 5-foot-11, 165-pound Word of Life (Wichita, Kan.)
center fielder has graduated with state records for most steals in a game (6), season (50) and career (165). The previous records were 5, 42 and 119, respectively. .The national record for career steals is 210.
He was thrown out only seven times and picked off just seven times during four years. This year he also batted .472, walked 26 times and struck out only three times. His career batting average was .464.
Birdwell told MaxPreps, "I do think it's set pretty high. It will be very hard to beat (his records). It's quite an honor to have the records. I actually never thought about it. It was more about playing hard and putting our team in position to win."
The only goal he never reached was to steal home. He said he did have a shot once, but his team already was far ahead and it made no sense.
As he prepared for a tournament today, he added hopefully, "I'm looking forward to doing it this summer."
The left-handed hitter, who runs 60 yards in a swift 6.68 seconds, was home-schooled until this year. After playing for World of Life for three years, he elected to enroll for his final year.
"There wasn't much of a transition," he reported. "It was a lot more fun meeting different class members and making friends. We had 47 in our graduating class and only about eight or nine were from the United States. We have a lot of foreign exchange students."
With a chance to play right away he has signed with Kansas powerhouse Neosho Community College where he plans to study sports management. He would then like to transfer to a Division I college for his final two years.
What about a pro career?
It's not out of the question because as he puts it, "All I have to do is hit the ball on the ground and I have a very high chance of beating it out."
And don't forget all those stolen bases that will follow.