Zach Kendall signs letter of intent to pitch for BGSU

By David Fong
Regional Sports Editor

TROY – If Zach Kendall hopes to feast on college hitters next year, he’s first going to have to do a little feasting, period.

“I’m eating a ton,” said Kendall, a senior pitcher for the Troy High School baseball team who officially signed his national letter of intent to pitch at Bowling Green State University Friday during a ceremony at the school. He’ll pitch for the Trojans this spring before leaving for Bowling Green in the fall of

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2014. “I’m eating double lunches every day. I’m eating every chance I get.”

Even though he currently packs only 142 pounds on his 6-foot-2 frame, Kendall already has developed into one of the top pitchers in the Greater Western Ohio Conference North Division. Last spring for the Trojans, he appeared in 11 games, going 6-4 with one save. His record, however, belies his true dominance. In just 59.2 innings of work, Kendall recorded 69 strikeouts, tops in the GWOC North, and finished with a 2.35 earned run average, third in the GWOC North.

“Without a doubt, he’s got all the tools to pitch at the Division I level right now,” Troy coach Ty Welker said. “He’s got a lot of natural talent. He’s just got to grow. He’s got to get bigger. His talent has never been in question. He’s a kid who has always put in the work. He’s a great kid. For him to have this opportunity is a real credit to him and his parents.”

Even with his slight frame, Kendall has a fastball that already has been clocked at 85 miles per hour. Troy High School pitching coach said if Kendall can pack on another 30 or 40 pounds, his fastball could easily get into the 90s – and that should make a huge difference at the next level.

“He’s just starting to scratch the surface of what he can do,” Murray said. “He’s playing at about 150 now and already throwing in the mid-80s. He’s already got pretty good stuff. Now he just needs to fill out.”

Murray, of all people, should know. When he graduated from Troy High School in 1991 and signed with the University of Michigan, he weighed just 160 pounds. He was able to put on 30 pounds in college and was eventually drafted by the San Diego Padres and was a Major League Baseball pitcher for five years.

“I was able to add about 7 miles per hour just by gaining weight and getting older and stronger,” Murray said. “And all he’ll do in college is focus on pitching. They’ll have him lifting and running and pitching. That’s going to be his whole life.”

Up until now, baseball has been his whole life. Kendall said he’s dreamed of becoming a college pitcher since he was 5 years old.

“This is all I’ve ever wanted to do,” he said. “This has always been dream. All I’ve wanted to do since I was a little kid.”

Still, though, Kendall said he didn’t know for sure if that dream would ever come true until this past summer, when he started hearing from college coaches. Wright State was the first program to call him, but certainly not the last.

“It was a shock,” Kendall said of his first call from a college coach. “I really didn’t know how to handle it. It’s hard to explain.”

The offers would continue to roll in through the summer as Kendall pitched for the Raptors Elite Baseball Club. In addition to Wright State and Bowling Green, Kendall also was hearing from Akron, Indiana and Morehead State. In the end, though, Kendall felt as though BGSU would be the best fit for him.

“I loved the campus and the coaches,” he said. “I really enjoyed my official visit. I enjoyed being around all the players. I can’t wait to get on campus.”

First stop? The dining hall.

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