Hudson Valley Baseball’s versatile outfielder and number two hitter Connor McDonough has had a season to remember, that has boosted him to second in the country in batting average.
Connor McDonough is a distant cousin of Congressman Edward F. McDonough, the man whom the athletic complex on this campus was named after. However, Connor said that they are not close and he does not know much about him.
On the baseball side of McDonough, he has started his season off with his stats sky high.
“Everything has been going my way,” said McDonough. He has a batting average of .532, and has 14 stolen bases, in Hudson Valley’s 20 games.
“I’m seeing the ball really well,” McDonough said. “[The baseball] looks like a beach ball,” he added.
“He’s a team player,” said Hudson Valley third baseman Joe Bender. “It’s nice to know that he’ll be on base 60 percent of the time when I’m at the plate.”
“He’s always there to back me up and get the job done,” said Hudson Valley right-fielder and leadoff hitter Brandon Martinez. Martinez said he knows that McDonough will get the job done if he doesn’t, so it allows him to stay comfortable at the plate.
Head Coach Alex Jurczynski has high praises for McDonough. “He is a team player,” said Jurczynski. “He’s not selfish at all, and he’s an extremely good bunter, which helps the team,” Jurczynski added.
“His best feature at the plate is that he can hit literally every pitch,” Jurczynski said. “No matter where the ball is located, he can hit it,” he added.
“He is a very well rounded player,” Jurczynski said. “He gets the job done on the field,” he added.
McDonough displayed his defensive skills on Sunday Apr. 26, against Herkimer. In the first game of the double header, McDonough had eight putouts including 2 plays that had the small crowd in awe.
The first of the two plays was a long fly ball to deep right-center field. McDonough ranged back just in time to glove the ball, but then bobbled the ball. He was able to corral the ball and record what would be the second out of the fourth inning. The catch helped minimize what would be a three run inning for Herkimer.
“It was just about getting back to the ball,” McDonough said. “I bobbled it when it hit the heel of my glove, but I grabbed with my bare hand,” he added
The other catch came in the seventh inning with Hudson Valley down a run. He laid out to catch long liner toward left-center field.
“I thought it was going to be out of reach, but at the last second I extended for it,” he said. McDonough extended the game with this catch by preventing Herkimer from extending their 4-3 lead. The lead would disappear in the bottom of the seventh, but Hudson Valley would still eventually lose in extra innings.
Another piece of McDonough’s game is baserunning. He added another stolen base to his season total on Sunday Apr. 26 as well.
McDonough said, a lot of the credit for his baserunning can be given to the coaching staff. “The coaches helped me out a lot over the winter with my baserunning, and that is a reason for my stolen bases,” he said. “I’ve been more aggressive than in years past, and the coaching has something to do with that too,” he added.
Jurczynski said that the aggressiveness the team has this season, can be attributed to him. He said, “I like a fast paced game.” he said. The head coach has implemented McDonough’s base running into his coaching strategy. “We’re an extremely aggressive team,” he said. That has an effect on McDonough, according to Jurczynski, because he is fast and he’s always on base.
Jurczynski and the team agreed that McDonough not only is a presence as a player on the field, but is a good teammate in the dugout and the locker room.
“He’s extremely respectful, and well liked by the team,” said Jurczynski. “He’s fun to coach because we can’t get mad at him. If he makes a mistake, he knows he made a mistake and it won’t happen again,” he added.
“As coaches, we like his personality because he will be happy regardless of where you put him in the lineup or on the field,” Jurczynski said. “Everyone feeds off of him because he is such a nice kid,” he said.
“He’s always upbeat, and he works hard for what he’s doing,” said Bender. He said the team feeds off of McDonough.
“He’s like a little brother to me,” said Martinez. “He’s just a great guy and he plays very well.” he said.
Martinez said that McDonough is an integral part of the team and even went as far to say that he could play at the Division I collegiate level.