Hard Work, Focus and Conviction are Keys to Brennan Kelly’s Pitching Success

By Bill Barrows

There are players at every level in every sport who never seem to be in the limelight even when they are. It may not be the case, but Brennan Kelly seems to fit that description. Brennan came through the youth baseball levels here in Wabash County and was a solid player, but his left arm was his most notable asset. He pitched on most mounds around here with little fanfare, which seems alright with him.

"I would really lock in on the field and then in the weight room which has helped me overall, says Brennan. In games that I saw him play growing up and then later at Southwood High School, he always was focused on the task, was businesslike and no nonsense. He wasn't flashy, nor did he try to draw attention to himself. He just did his best to do what he was on the mound to do.

I told Brennan in our conversation recently that he has lot of the same traits of a player that I coached a number of years ago in Bryce Shafer. He pitched in a notable tournament in Arizona where he had a tough outing in his first game out there. He wanted the ball a couple of days later and made adjustments to his game as he won. He ended up pitching the most innings on the staff and led our pitchers in that tourney. Shafer had a lot of savvy. He built his arm strength as well as his lower half to become a top pitcher while at Northfield High School and got the attention of the Chicago Cubs. He pitched in that organization. His pitching prowess also helped pay for his college education.

Ironically, Shafer was able to help Kelly continue his pitching career by recruiting him to play at Kankakee Valley Community College where he is the pitching coach. "He has helped me a lot with throwing with conviction. Basically just trying to throw every pitch as nasty as possible," Brennan says about Coach Shafer.

Kelly threw 50.1 innings this past season with a 1.61 ERA. He also received the MVP award for the Regional Tournament. He was 7-1 and appeared in 31 games. "So after we won the sectional and regional, we advanced to the World Series in Enid, Oklahoma. We lost the first game of the World Series, which was double elimination. After that we won 6 straight to win the D2 NJCAA national championship." I asked Brennan what he has learned from Shafer. He said, "Just the fact that I always would work on my craft at practice."

I never saw Shafer ever not prepared to pitch, so he is teaching his young pitchers to do the same. The future for Brennan Kelly will be bright if he continues to emulate his performance from this past season. 

Posted on 2017 Aug 29