Kennedy making his mark at Mass. Maritime
April 28, 2017
By George Kostinas, Yarmouth Register
Connor Kennedy led off in the second game of a doubleheader two weeks ago against the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, in which he has already had two hits, and ripped off a double for his 100th career hit at Massachusetts Maritime Academy.
In the next three games he banged out five more hits, including a 3-for-7 performance against Framingham State Sunday.
Kennedy, only a junior, has 105 hits in 90 games; that’s better than one hit per game.
“That’s a pretty good accomplishment,” said Mass Maritime coach Mike Kelley.
Last year, he had 47 hits in 38 games; this season in 22 games he already has 31 hits.
So if he plays every game the remainder of this season and every game next season, his senior year, at the pace he’s going and if everything else goes right, it is possible that Kennedy could break the school record of 169 career hits.
“He could come close. He’d have to have a great senior year, which I’m all for,” said Kelley.
Records are great, but that is not what really drives Kennedy.
“Determination. That’s his greatest asset,” said Kelley. “He works at the game. He gives 100 percent all the time. He has that determination to be good.”
Those qualities date to when Kennedy, who is from West Barnstable, transferred to then Pope John Paul II High School from Barnstable in his sophomore year.
“He was a part-time starter as a sophomore and he won the spot in right field his junior year and senior year,” said his high school coach, Mark Santos.
He was always a good contact hitter, said Santos, who had him batting ninth in the lineup, which is usually reserved for the weaker hitters.
But Santos said it was like having another leadoff hitter at the end of the lineup.
“He got stronger and stronger. The thing about Connor was he had a great work ethic back in high school. It was work, work, work. He got himself into the weight room. He was always a good contact hitter, and he became a power hitter,” said Santos. “He transformed himself into an all-around player.”
But Kennedy gives Santos and the St. John Paul II approach a lot of credit.
“It was the way he [Santos] treated us and made us work that made the difference,” said Kennedy.
In his junior year, the Lions made it all the way to the state championship game, but lost 1-0 to Lowell Catholic.
And in his senior year, they went all the way, winning the first of three straight state titles for St. John Paul II.
That hard-working attitude at St. John Paul II made Mass Maritime a top college choice for Kennedy.
“I liked the reputation of the school for its academics and what the school was known for,” said Kennedy. “I liked the structure; it gives you a mindset for structure and discipline.”
And right away it was a good fit for him.
“We usually have one or two freshmen every year who can step up and compete, but it is not a common thing. It usually takes a year to get used to the speed and the pitching of the college game,” said Kelley.