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Baseball: Kennedy has sensational start to career

06/30/2017, 12:45pm EDT
By Kevin Minnick, SJSD

A look at what some of South Jersey's best are doing at the professional level

Buddy Kennedy said he just wanted to do what he always does.

If this continues, the recent Millville High School graduate is going to enjoy a long career doing what he does best.

In his professional baseball debut Thursday with the Arizona Diamondbacks’ rookie affiliate in the Arizona League, Kennedy went 3-for-4 with two triples and an RBI. His first hit, which came in his initial at-bat, was a triple to right field.

“I was just trying to go up there and do what I always do,” Kennedy said Friday morning via text. “I wasn’t trying to do too much. I just wanted to get my first hit out of the way and once that happened I’d be fine. I got good pitches to hit and put a good swing on them.”

Kennedy signed with the Diamondbacks on June 24, just eight days after graduation. The talented third baseman was taken in the fifth round of the MLB Draft with the 142nd overall pick.

According to reports, he signed for $550,000 - $193,100 over the slot value for where he was taken in the draft.

“Being a pro is hard work. Nothing is taken for granted here,” he said. “You’ve got to work hard every day to do your best every time you step on the field.”

Another step: Mike Shawaryn, a 2013 Gloucester Catholic graduate, was recently promoted to Boston’s Class A-Advanced affiliate in Salem, Virginia.

In four starts for the Carolina League team, the right-hander is 1-2 with a 5.82 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 17 innings. Shawaryn was scheduled to start Friday night for visiting Salem against the Wilmington Blue Rocks.

“I’m thankful to have been called up as it is one step closer to the ultimate goal,” he said via text. “I look forward to what the rest of the season has in store as I finish up my first professional season.”

Shawaryn started the season with Boston’s Class A affiliate in the South Atlantic League. In 10 starts, he went 3-2 with a 3.88 ERA and 78 strikeouts in 53 1/3 innings.

He made his Salem debut on June 4, throwing five innings of two-run ball with six strikeouts but not figuring in the decision.

Taken in the fifth round of the 2016 draft, Shawaryn left the University of Maryland as the program’s all-time leader in wins (30), strikeouts (307) and innings pitched (307 1/3). He also set single-season records for wins (13 in 2015) and strikeouts (138 in 2015).

Pro debut: Taken in the 28th round by the Toronto Blue Jays, recent Eastern graduate Davis Schneider is also off to a strong start.

In his Gulf Coast League (Rookie) debut, Schneider was the designated hitter and doubled against the Yankees affiliate. He finished 1-for-3.

He followed that up Thursday going 2-for-3 with a double, a walk and his first RBI in another matchup with the Yankees.

“It feels great,” Schneider said from his hotel in Clearwater, Florida – just a short drive from the Blue Jays’ training facility in Dunedin. “It’s already an experience I won’t forget. I’ve made friends already and just the atmosphere of baseball 24/7 is for me. I love it.”

In The Show: Mark Zagunis, a 2011 Holy Cross graduate and Cinnaminson resident, was promoted from Triple-A Indianapolis and made his Major League debut with the Chicago Cubs against Miami on June 22.

A catcher during his college career at Virginia Tech, Zagunis has played in the outfield since being selected in the third round of the 2014 draft. He started in right field against the Marlins, going 0-for-5 but picking up his first RBI.

Heading into a weekend series at Cincinnati, Zagunis is still looking for his first Major League hit. In seven games for the Cubs, he’s collected four walks, an RBI and two stolen bases.

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