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Wilmington’s Own Kyle Hinton Returns to the Blue Rocks

July 24, 2021

Wilmington, DE – Back on June 19, the Washington Nationals signed free agent right handed pitcher Kyle Hinton to a minor league contract. That same day, he was assigned to the Wilmington Blue Rocks, meaning Hinton, a Wilmington native, would once again be returning to his hometown to play baseball.

Wilmington, DE – Back on June 19, the Washington Nationals signed free agent right handed pitcher Kyle Hinton to a minor league contract. That same day, he was assigned to the Wilmington Blue Rocks, meaning Hinton, a Wilmington native, would once again be returning to his hometown to play baseball.

Before joining the team this year, Hinton already had a long history of playing baseball in Delaware. That history goes all the way back to high school and even includes a prior stay with the Blue Rocks in 2018.

“I’m from Wilmington, went to high school in Wilmington, went to the University of Delaware,” Hinton said. “And then, it’s just crazy for me because when I was drafted in 2018, I actually went to the Blue Rocks towards the end of the year.”

It was the Kansas City Royals who drafted Hinton in the 16th round of the 2018 MLB Draft and at the time, the Blue Rocks were still the Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Royals. Hinton knew then there was a chance he could be heading right back to Delaware.

“I knew that the Blue Rocks were a minor league affiliate of the Royals, so it was kind of at the back of my mind, but I wasn’t sure when or if it was going to happen. And then, fortunately enough in 2018, I got the call to go there at the end of the year and it was a little crazy. I had a lot of friends at the game, a lot of family,” Hinton said. “So I knew it was a possibility, but it didn’t really hit me until I got there.”

2018 wouldn’t be his first experience playing baseball at Daniel S. Frawley Stadium though, because Hinton also got a chance to pitch at the ballpark while in high school.

“When I was a junior in high school, I went to Salesianum, which is in Wilmington, and I pitched a game there. I actually threw a no-hitter, which was pretty cool,” Hinton said. “So I got tickets to go to [Blue Rock] games and stuff like that for doing that.”

Hinton didn’t go straight to Wilmington after being drafted though. He would spend a few months with the Burlington Royals before returning to his hometown.

When Hinton eventually did get to the Blue Rocks, it was in September, towards the end of the season. It was also at a different point of his life, so coming back this time in 2021, there are a few differences.

“The first time I was here, it was at the end of the year, so I wasn’t here that long. And then this year, obviously, I think I have been here for a little more than a month, just being here longer I would say [is different],” Hinton said. “I’m married now, so it’s cool to be back home. My brother-in-law plays minor league baseball with the Phillies, he was with Jersey Shore [BlueClaws], which is in our division.”

Unfortunately, Hinton said that he didn’t get to play his brother-in-law since the Phillies moved him up to Double A before the Blue Rocks series with the BlueClaws in July. Hinton’s brother-in-law’s family still come out to his games, along with his own parents, since he is so close to home.

With his family and friends going to the games so often, it’s always a hometown crowd whenever Hinton pitches at home, so it would be expected that there would be added pressure on him. But according to Hinton, it is more of a positive feeling being in front of the Wilmington crowd.

“It's just a different feeling when you come to the game and you know a bunch of people who are there,” Hinton said. “It made me a little anxious when I was out there [at first] but now it’s just sort of normal. It’s not really a pressure thing anymore, it’s just you go out there and do your thing like you always do and then they’re cheering you on. So you know that they’re behind you, so that helps out as well.”

Overall, the experience of playing baseball in Wilmington has been a positive one for Hinton.

“It has been awesome; the guys on the team are incredible. The coaching staff is awesome,” Hinton said. “Like I said, I came in later, about a little less than half way through their season, so I was kind of the new guy but they were really cool about me being there and were really welcoming… Everything has been great, I have no complaints, everyone has been really accepting and it has been a blast, I’m enjoying all of it.”