NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Sports

April 23, 2014

O'Connor's no-hitter a testament to star's drive to succeed

Ryan O’Connor was one of the best baseball players to ever come out of Newburyport High School. He was the son of a professional catcher, a team captain on the 2011 state championship team, and after graduating from high school he followed in his father Mike O’Connor’s footsteps by playing baseball at Bentley University.

The transition from high school baseball to college wasn’t a smooth one; but coming into his junior year, there was reason to believe a breakout season could be coming and that O’Connor could soon dominate the Northeast-10 the same way he used to dominate the Cape Ann League.

Now? There’s no doubt. O’Connor has arrived.

This past Saturday, O’Connor pitched a no-hitter for Bentley, the school’s first since Len White threw one against Stonehill on April 28, 1972. O’Connor only needed 107 pitches to complete his masterpiece, striking out five while walking only three en route to the historic 5-0 win over St. Anselm.

After O’Connor got St. Anselm’s Nick Bragole to ground out to short to complete the deal, news of his feat began to spread quickly throughout the Newburyport baseball scene, and his former high school coaches all congratulated him for his achievement.

“Everybody is really proud of Ryan’s accomplishment,” said Newburyport head coach Steve Malenfant, who was an assistant coach back when O’Connor was on the team. “He’s a classy kid from a classy family, he did a heck of a job and he’s been waiting for this moment to be able to step up in his career.”

It hasn’t been an easy road for O’Connor. Since going out with a state championship to end his high school career, O’Connor went on to miss his entire freshman season at Bentley due to a shoulder injury. Last year, O’Connor returned to go 2-3 with a 4.25 ERA, but he wasn’t heavily relied upon given that the team had four senior starters who carried the brunt of the load.

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