PORTLAND, Maine –
A 14 year-old high school freshman is being watched by not only his entire town, but also by scouts from some giant sports-centric colleges, and at least one major league team, after pitching two back-to-back no-hitters over 3 days this week.
Patrick Kingsford, a freshman at Deering High School in Portland, Maine, was a newcomer to their school’s baseball program this year, after trying out and making the team earlier in the spring. A broken arm a week after the season started kept Kingsford out of regular rotation, but this week, after being put into his first games, Kingsford blew away fans of by pitching well over 90mph, including hitting a high-mark of 96mph after already having thrown 58 pitches.
“We thought for sure that Patrick was going to be out for the entire season,” said Gerard Kingsford, Patrick’s father. “We get crazy weather here in the North East, and we got one big ice storm right at the start of spring. Patrick slipped and broke his arm – he was really disappointed because he had just made the baseball team and was really looking forward to playing.”
“I was supposed to be a relief pitcher for the J.V. team,” said Patrick. “I broke my arm, and the doctor said I might miss the whole season. But I healed really fast, and when the doctor took the cast off, he checked everything out and said he couldn’t believe how well I’d healed, and how fast. Less than 2 weeks later, I was pitching again.”
Kingsford went back to his J.V. team during a practice game, and when he started pitching, the coach’s jaws dropped.
“I had never seen anything like it. I never thought I would, either.” said Michel Duncan, Deering High School baseball coach. “Patrick came out and was warming up, and he started pitching, and it was like lightning. He was throwing at speeds I’ve never seen for a high school student. Even when I played in college most players weren’t throwing like he was. It was major league speeds, for sure.”
Kingsford was immediately placed into the rotation for the varsity team, and he went on to pitch 2 no-hitters over the course of a week. News of Kingsford’s abilities started to spread, and soon he was being visited by college scouts from all over the country. He even was visited by professional scouts from his favorite New England team.
“I had Amiel Sawdaye visit me. Amiel is the amateur scout for the Boston Red Sox, my favorite team.” Said Kingsford. “I’m not old enough to play professionally yet, according to MLB rules, but Amiel wanted to come see me. He watched a game, and talked to me after. He said that if I keep playing like I have been, once I graduate he’d probably be back to talk to me again. It was the most exciting thing that’s ever happened to me.”
Kingsford went on to say that although it’s nice that professional teams have taken an interest in him, he wants to play in college first.
“It’s always been my goal to go to college. You can’t rely on baseball forever. Someday my arm might get tired, and I wouldn’t want that to be everything I had. If I can play baseball for a college team and then go pro, that’s what I want to do. I’ve always liked school and that’s important to me, and it’s important to my dad. So that’s probably what I’ll do.”
Kingsford has already spoken to colleges such as Boston University and the University of Connecticut about possible scholarships when he graduates. It’s the first time that Boston U has ever talked to a high school freshman about becoming a player for any of their sports teams.
“I watched him play, and if he keeps it up, there will definitely be a spot on our roster for Patrick in a few years.” Said Mike Gambino, head coach of Boston University Baseball. “It’s the most impressive thing I’ve ever seen from a high school player.”