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Article Published April 12, 2018
Heins Moving Up in the Order as Hand Baseball Varsity Assistant
North Branford Grad is Also Head Coach for Branford Senior Legion
John Lecardo, Sports Writer

The Hand baseball team has been growing while its athletes have gained valuable experience in big games during the past few seasons. Coach Kyle Heins has played a big part in that growth, and now he’s looking to continue doing so as he steps into a new coaching capacity with the Tigers this spring.

Kyle is a North Haven resident and a varsity assistant coach for the boys’ ice hockey squad at North Haven High School. Kyle played baseball and hockey at North Branford before graduating in 2007, and he was also a key player for the Branford Senior American Legion baseball team during its run of unprecedented success. After earning his bachelor’s degree from Sacred Heart University, Kyle returned to North Branford as a volunteer assistant coach with its baseball team and then became an assistant with Branford Senior Legion the following year; he’s now the team’s head coach.

A school counselor at Hand, Kyle spent the last two seasons as the JV baseball coach. This year, he’s moving up the ranks to become the new varsity assistant coach for the Tigers.

“After two years of JV and then becoming the Branford Legion head coach, I thought I could offer more to the program here,” says Kyle. “Justin Kaeser took the JV job here, and so it worked out from there.”

Although he isn’t a teacher at Hand, Kyle still wants to implement the ideologies of the classroom onto the diamond. He’s excited to get out there and bond with the Tigers’ student-athletes, while also helping them out in every way he can in any aspect of their lives.

“The baseball field is a continuation of a school environment, so you still need to have discipline, sportsmanship, and be giving 100 percent,” Kyle says. “In coaching, I love the relationships you are able to build with kids. Sports can be a great avenue for kids to help them get through tough times, and I love to have their backs as a coach and counselor.”

Kyle and the Tigers were victorious in their first two games of the 2018 season. Now that he’s firmly entrenched on the varsity staff, Kyle feels eager to provide some valuable input for Head Coach Travis LaPointe and fellow varsity assistant Nick Merullo.

“I love working with Travis and Nick Merullo. Every coach on this staff communicates so well with the others,” says Kyle. “I’m ready to bring another element to it and be just another voice, along with having the privilege of working with the infielders.”

Coach LaPointe says that while Kyle’s passion and knowledge of the game are a huge asset to Hand, Kyle’s connections with the school’s students may prove his biggest hit with the baseball squad.

“Kyle is an incredible asset to our baseball team. He is an incredible person with a huge heart. He is a guidance counselor at Hand, which is a huge bonus for our players,” says LaPointe. “He is able to check on their grades and is able to meet with players if they need any help with academics or social concerns. He is a really talented coach. He makes great observations and has a deep knowledge of the game. He has a great sense of humor and makes everyone on the team laugh. I feel really fortunate to have him on this staff as a coach and as a friend.”

Kyle knows there’s a lot of responsibility on coaches’ shoulders to help their ballplayers progress. As he begins his first year in his new post, Kyle relishes the chance to be part of a coaching staff that’s striving to guide the Tigers to another great campaign.

“We just want to try and get better every day, both the players and the coaches,” says Kyle. “In the long term, we want to be part of a postseason run that ends at Palmer Field, and I have nothing but confidence in this team.”