August 12, 2006
Scituate pitcher Jason Connelly practically grew-up at the South Shore Baseball Club, starting out there as a pre-teen and eventually developing into a first team Division III All-American at West New England College in Springfield.
Connolly credits Kerry Cole, SSBC Senior Vice President and COO, for introducing him to the club, as well as coaching him during his early years. “Mr. Cole is the reason,” Connolly responded to being asked how he learned about SSBC. “His son, Jesse, and I are the same age. Mr. Cole coached us and other kids our age in Scituate. We almost made it to Williamsport. Our (Little League all-star) team finished second in Massachusetts. I attribute a lot of our success to Mr. Cole because he taught us how to play ball.”
At SSBC, Jason took a few lessons and attended most clinics, which helped him become a high school pitcher. “Going there strengthened my arm during the winter and helped me be ready for the season,” Jason said. “The overall experience at SSBC helped me in little league, high school and college. It was the best experience. Without the club I wouldn’t have developed into the player I am, afforded the college I attended, or made the friendships and rivalries I have.”
This past season at Western New England College, where he was a senior co-captain, Connelly became the first player in the WNEC baseball program’s 38-year history to be named to the American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings Division III All-American First Team. The right-handed Connelly registered an 8-2 record and 1.75 earned run average in 77.1 innings this past season. He also set a school record for most career pitching victories with 30. A true all-around baseball player, Jason also played second base and posted a team-high .368 batting average.
The awards didn’t stop there for Connelly, who was both the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year and Tri Player of the Year, as well as named to the All-New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association (first team) and NCAA Div. III N.E. Regional All-Tournament Teams. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and was voted the WNEC 2006 Coca-Cola Athlete of the Year.
In May at Fenway Park, Jason pitched a scoreless second inning for the College Division All-Stars in a 2-1 loss to the University Division All-Stars in the annual NEIBA All-Star Game. He also played two innings at second base.
“Jason was part of a great group of Scituate kids that spent a great deal of time at the Club,” stated SSBC President Frank Niles. “They were around pretty much non-stop for a few years and just loved to play and compete. Jason’s success is no surprise to anyone who saw him then. Passion, fun and hard work are a dynamic combination.”
Connelly wants to teach and coach baseball at a Massachusetts high school. He plays summer ball in the Cranberry League and plans to continue doing so as long as he can and it remains fun.
As a WNEC press release headline about Jason Connelly read, “The All-American kid is now an All-American player.” It doesn’t get much better than that.