Athlete of the Week: Jimmy Kingsbury, Baseball

In his most recent start for the Wildcats against LIU Brooklyn, sophomore pitcher Jimmy Kingsbury (3-2, 3.95 ERA), pitched 7 and a third innings. This extended his streak of scoreless innings pitched to its conclusion at 16 and a third innings, after he was charged two earned runs on five hits. Kingsbury’s excellent performance against the Blackbirds, combined with his one-hit shutout in his previous start, help to cement his growing status as the Wildcats’ ace. 

Kingsbury’s love of baseball began with tee ball at age six. His father and mother, Villanova alumni William and Maureen Kingsbury, played baseball and softball, respectively, for the Wildcats. His father in particular introduced Kingsbury to the sport, but was careful not to pressure his son. However, as Kingsbury said, “I immediately fell in love with baseball. I love competing. There’s just no sport like baseball.” 

When it came time to make his college decision, Kingsbury mentions his parents’ Villanova history, along with that of his two uncles, as influencing his decision. However, he wants to carve his own path and, therefore, largely cites the university’s strong academics, as well as a desire to help the baseball program win, as his deciding factors. 

Now that he is on campus and in his second year, Kingsbury says that his favorite thing about being on the team is his teammates. “I love the guys on the team,” he said. “I love the work ethic of the team and how everyone in the locker room always trying to improve. I have their back no matter what and they have mine. We’re lifelong friends.” 

In terms of the on-field product, Kingsbury recognizes that while VU’s record is not exactly what the team wants, he feels like the upcoming Big East conference play is an excellent time for the baseball team to turn things around.

 “I think we’re developing a young core and we’ve improved a lot from last year,” Kingsbury said. “We have a great work ethic, and can give 100% every time we play. We’ve improved a lot and I’m excited for the future.” 

Kingsbury likes to throw a four-seam fast ball and a two-seam fastball. “I like to throw the two-seam inside to right handed batters because I get a lot of arm side run,” he said. “I have a low three-quarter arm slot. My best off-speed pitch is my change-up. I get a lot of sink and run from that from pronating. I do a good job of pronating that pitch. I also have a slider and a curveball. I throw the curveball early to get an easy strike. It’s a lot slower and more of a loopy pitch. The slider is more of a strike-out pitch. I try to throw it harder and get more of a late break and more vertical movement.” When asked what his favorite pitch is, Kingsbury humbly answered “strike one,” however, he says that he likes his two-seam fastball the most.  

When looking forward to the rest of the season, Kingsbury remains optimistic and sees their upcoming Big East opener against Seton Hall as the perfect opportunity to gain momentum. “We started off a little slow. We had all the components, but we didn’t always have them at the same time. Once we put all the components together, hitting, defense and pitching, I feel like it will be hard to beat us.”  

No matter how the rest of the baseball season turns out, Kingsbury’s emergence as the Wildcats’ staff ace is one of the most exciting and encouraging storylines of the 2019 baseball season.