Mad Skillz_old
From the TH:

Keene not 1 for shortcuts

Joe Keene knew he wasn't going to be called upon to pitch for the Potosi baseball team very often. His appearances would be reserved for non-conference blowouts, if that.

But Keene was, to even the smallest degree, a pitcher on the Chieftains' roster (in addition to his everyday duties as third baseman). So each day at practice Keene went through all the pitchers' drills and exercises. Even though he knew it was a longshot his number would be called, Keene made sure he was nonetheless prepared.

"I had guys who pitched a lot more than him who took shortcuts in that area," Potosi baseball coach Ron Kading said. "Joe never did, even though he knew he wasn't going to pitch that much."

It is that kind of dedication and commitment, Kading said, that drove Keene to be a successful student-athlete at Potosi High School and a perfect candidate for the TH's 2005 All-Academic Team. There were precious few things, within the rules, that Keene would not do to better himself or his team, whether in the classroom or on the playing field.

"One of the big things about his is, when he makes a commitment to doing something, he really means it," Kading said. "He made commitments in band, in baseball, in football, in the weight room, he made a commitment to keeping his grades up.

"When he says that he's going to do something, he does it."

And during his prep career at Potosi, he did a lot. In addition to being a four-year participant and three-year letterwinner in both football and baseball, Keene was a leader in the classroom as well. He earned a career 4.0 grade-point-average and finished as his class' valedictorian.

Keene, who is headed to Madison and the University of Wisconsin this fall, scored a 34 on his ACT, a 1420 on his SAT and is a National Merit semifinalist.

Like most outstanding student-athletes, Keene was also highly involved in other activities: He was the Potosi National Honor Society's president, a DARE role model, he played trumpet in the high-school band, was in 4-H and his church's youth group.

"When I think of Joe, I think of somebody who is successful at anything he does," said Mark Siegert, Keene's football coach at Potosi. "He gives 100 percent, whatever activity."

As a baseball player, Keene displayed that willingness to do whatever it took to succeed. At the hot corner, he never shied away from a hard grounder, Kading said.

"We always told Joe, 'You don't need to be a good glove man, you just have to have a good arm and a good chest,'" Kading said. "He took balls off the chest, off the leg ... He's one real tough kid."

Siegert would agree. In addition to becoming a perfect example of Potosi's new weight-lifting program that helped the program go from winless in 2002 to the WIAA playoffs in '04, Keene allowed the coaches to shuffle him around the football field from position to position without a single cross word.

"He literally played over a half-dozen positions," Siegert said. "And every time we asked him to make a change, he was always willing. He said, 'I'll do whatever it takes for us to be successful.'"

Just like Keene has done whatever it has taken to be successful in everything he has done.
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