Butler's Fennell a two-way baseball star for Cal U
College provides a series of opportunities for those who have what it takes to get there.
In the classroom and on the field, being diverse helps, and perhaps nobody fits that mold better than California (Pa.) student-athlete Mick Fennell.
Fennell, a Butler graduate, liked the baseball program and coach at Cal, but part of his decision in choosing the school was that he was given the opportunity to pitch and play a position.
“I liked how the program was run, and letting me play a position in addition to pitching was a big thing for me,” Fennell said.
Fennell, a sophomore, has been in the starting pitching rotation, and has seen time at third base and in the outfield. He even came in as a relief pitcher on a few occasions this season.
For Cal, which had a 25-22 record, Fennell finished second on the team with a .336 batting average while starting all 47 games. He scored a team-high 37 runs and had six doubles, eight triples, a home run and 15 RBIs while stealing 13 bases in 15 attempts.
On the mound, he went 4-3 with a 2.62 ERA in six starts and four relief appearances. He struck out 24 and walked eight in 48 innings.
Fennell was named to the second-team at third base in the PSAC West.
Coming from a large Quad-A school, Fennell knows how much competition goes on within a team, in addition to what he faced in section play.
“That helped me prepare for college play,” Fennell said. “College is much deeper with the roster, and there are a lot more standout players. You have to have the mindset of believing in yourself. That helped me as a senior in high school and as a freshman here.”
Another adjustment Fennell had to make was the duration of a season. In high school, most teams schedule about 20 games, not including playoffs. In college, the average schedule is 50 games.
“Our coach tells us it is like a rollercoaster, where you have to maintain a level of balance,” Fennell said. “One bad game here or there, but you have to get back on the upstroke.”
While he likes the impact he can have on a game as a pitcher, Fennell said there is something to be said for the everyday players and being a part of every contest.
While the game and practice schedules are arduous, so is keeping up with the advanced studies.
“It can be a struggle with missing classes,” he said.
“You always have to keep up with your teachers. When you miss, you have to stay in touch with them.
“They understand, but you still have to work hard if you want to stay on the same page with them.”
Fennell is studying to work in the sports management field because he can't imagine life without sports.
A good work ethic is only one aspect Fennell brings to his team.
Senior teammate John Orr said Fennell brings a lot of energy to the team no matter where he plays.
“Mick is a bulldog, a fighter,” Orr said.
“He performs on and off the hill. He is a special person, and he has the tools to have a great career here in the future.”
Jerry Clark is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.