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Football or baseball, California's T.D. Conway can play

| Friday, May 4, 2012, 12:30 a.m.
California’s T.D. Conway has a 23-2 career record on the mound, including a 9-0 mark with 62 strikeouts this season. Jim Ference Tribune-Review

If T.D. Conway hadn't already signed a letter of intent to play quarterback at California (Pa.), the California High School senior definitely would be drawing interest from college baseball coaches.

Conway, who is 23-2 in his career as a pitcher, certainly has shown the potential to play baseball at the next level. He is 9-0 with a 0.70 ERA and 62 strikeouts, and he's batting .667 with 28 RBI, nine doubles and a home run. He also has thrown a no-hitter.

This is after he hit .612 with 41 hits, 42 RBI and two home runs as a junior.

“T.D. comes from a football family,” California coach Don Hartman said. “His dad is the defensive coordinator at California University, his mother works in the sports information department and his brother, Dakota, is a wide receiver there.

“He loves both sports, but he wants to give football the first shot. I know California baseball coach Mike Conte would like both brothers on the team. Since he signed, it's taken the pressure off his shoulders, and he's having fun.”

When Conway isn't pitching, the 6-foot-5, 230-pounder is playing first base for California, which is 14-0 and ranked No. 2 in Class A by the Tribune-Review. The new BBCOR bats haven't slowed him at all.

“I worked hard in the offseason,” he said. “I tried to improve my swing every day, trying to do the best that I can at every at-bat, and I also have a great team behind me.”

Senior right fielder Matt Bakewell and his .600 batting average has provided some protection behind Conway, and the two have developed a friendly competition.

“This has been a great season,” Conway said. “We have a lot of new guys starting for the first time, and we're more of a team. Having a young group of players allows us to have more heart and more desire to want to do better. The five seniors have all provided leadership.”

Hartman also was complimentary of his leaders, notably Conway.

“He's a great student, great leader in the school and a pleasure to coach,” Hartman said. “He's a very humble young man, and that has a lot to do with his success. He never gets too high or too low. He was like that in football. He's not a rah-rah guy; he's a leader by example.

“He's had an outstanding four-year career here. He started as a freshman, and he broke out as a pitcher his sophomore year when he went 9-1. He's gotten bigger and stronger and works hard on his game.”

Even though Conway will be concentrating on football after the season, his main focus is helping California do well in the WPIAL and, possibly, the PIAA playoffs.

“I chose football to play in college, and I'm sticking by it,” Conway said. “If things don't work out with football, I'd definitely think about playing baseball.”

Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at pschofield@tribweb.com or 724-836-5095.

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