Written By Cal Friedman
Part of one of the best recruiting classes in 2020, Wellington Colts’ C.J. Kayfus is no stranger to dominating baseball in Palm Beach County. His next-level hitting and maturity saw him land offers from some of the biggest baseball programs in the country, and he’s ready for the competition in the CLPB this summer.
A graduate of Palm Beach Central HS, Kayfus was one of Central’s – and the district’s – finest players for the last two and a half seasons. Kayfus was selected as the 9A-9 All-District Team 1B back-to-back seasons in 2018 and 2019. To go along with that, Kayfus also pitched a career 1.28 ERA in 14 appearances, a dominant force on the mound.
“When you’re pitching, you can see [certain hitting tendencies], and vice versa.” Kayfus says. “When there’s two balls, you know [the batter] will call it.”
As a sophomore, he would lead Central to the 9A-9 District Championship Game, coming up short to eventual State Champions Jupiter. Kayfus pitched a strong four innings, giving up no runs on just four hits. He also went 1/4 with a triple.
Kayfus started out 2020 on a tear, hitting .556 in his first 10 games. He smashed his two home runs coming against Olympic Heights High School and Jupiter. He also had 13 RBIs, with four coming in the second game of the season against Dwyer. To put it in perspective, Kayfus had 12 RBIs in his entire Sophomore season.
When asked about his success in high school, Kayfus’ first thought wasn’t about his personal talent or intense training. The first baseman gave his response straight from the heart:
“It’s not so much a key for success, but rather just having fun. You’re out there with your friends… there’s no stress.”
Fortunately for Kayfus, his CLPB club this summer, the Wellington Colts, feature two high school teammates, outfielder Sam Astern and pitcher Jude Baxt. Both were important contributors for Central, with Astern hitting .279 with 18 runs in 2019. Baxt started 2020 strong, going 2-1 with a 1.35 ERA in his first 10 innings. Astern and Baxt are committed to play at Carson Newman and Fairleigh Dickinson, respectively.
“It’s exciting to play with them.” Kayfus commented. “We already have chemistry, we all have a bond form playing at Central. It for sure helps going into a summer league team already knowing some of your teammates than rather going in with not knowing anybody.”
Following the CLPB, C.J. Kayfus will head south to Coral Gables to join the Miami Hurricanes. Kayfus will likely find midweek play time with Miami’s only true 1B on their current team being Alex Toral. The Hurricanes’ 2020 recruiting class has ranked as high as second in the nation, consisting of consensus high school stars including pitcher Victor Mederos, catcher Carlos Perez, and Washington Nationals’ selection Sammy Infante.
The Hurricanes finished an abbreviated 2020 with a 12-4 record and a consensus top 15 ranking. UM ended the season winning 8 of their last 9, including a sweep in their opening ACC contests against Pittsburgh and a 3-2 win away against #12 UCF. The decision to commit to being a Hurricane was more personal than just baseball.
“The coaches made me feel at home in Miami.” Kayfus said. “[Miami’s Head Coach] Gino DiMare actually led the recruiting for me while he was still their hitting coach… But it was also academic, the class sizes were smaller, which I thought was pretty cool.”
Kayfus’ talent should fit right in to a Miami team known for their high-caliber hitting. For now, while he may not have a specific goal for this month, Kayfus is focused on getting better and enjoying baseball in the CLPB. The Colts opened their season 2-0, with Kayfus hitting .571 with 2 RBI’s. Their next game is Wednesday, July 8th, at 9:00 AM against the Vipers.