Sports

Crafty Lefty Leads North Salem Staff

North Salem senior Connor Mahoney will pitch at Quinnipiac University next spring.

North Salem senior Connor Mahoney is a starting pitcher and outfielder on the varsity baseball team.

How old were you when you started playing baseball and how did you get started?

I started in the backyard at 5 years old hitting tennis balls up into my yard with a small metal bat. My dad would pitch to me and set me up to swing righty and after failing with that, he switched me around [to bat left-handed] and I was good to go. It all started from there.

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How would you describe your pitching style?

I would describe myself as a crafty, moderately hard-throwing lefty. I use my off-speed pitches to set up a fastball, which I have been working towards to gain more and more velocity.

Coming off a state championship last season, does the team feel any pressure to repeat this year and what do you think will be the key to repeat?

It’s one of those things that is in the back of everyone’s head. Players, coaches, parents, teachers, you name it. People are expecting a big season again and the pressure is on, but to be successful, I think we need to take it day by day and if everyone can effectively do their job and get into a groove, we have a good chance of going far again.

As a senior, how do you see your role on the team, and how much do you value being a team leader?

I am looking forward to playing a key role and hoping to help the team in every way possible. Baseball is a team sport and I’ll need my teammates’ support to be successful as an individual. I value being a leader and being looked up to by underclassmen and teammates because I can lead by example. I hope to encourage them to be as competitive and passionate as I am for the game.

What is your favorite team activity, pregame or postgame ritual that you share with your teammates?

We always find a way to laugh and have fun during practices and games. One of my favorite rituals comes before the game when one fellow senior always comes up with some hilarious dance, which lightens the mood and reminds us we’re out there to have fun. We have little sayings and celebrations for hitting a double that keep it light that I also enjoy.

Who has been your biggest role model over the years and what have you learned from them?

Being a Yankee fan my whole life, it’s impossible to not respect Derek Jeter and look up to him as a role model. The way he carried himself and went about his business was great to watch. It was hard to see him retire. Besides Jeter, Clayton Kershaw is just nasty and I idolize him too for the way he pitches. Picking up from the two, I can try to mimic their character and style of play.

Tell us one thing about yourself that not a lot of people know?

Not a lot of people know that I can play the guitar decently and that I really enjoy and spend a lot of time following politics.

Do you plan on continuing to play baseball in college? If yes, where are you going and why did you choose that school?

I plan on continuing to play baseball at Quinnipiac University. My dream was to become a Division 1 player which I have fulfilled, and I love the campus, the location and everything it has to offer. To say the least, I’m very excited about my future there. 

Do you know what you want to study in college? If yes, what and why?

I’m undeclared at the moment, but I might go into communications. I think I have some qualities that fit that major, but I’m not sure if that’s what I’ll pursue. It’s up in the air right now.

Who is your favorite professional athlete and pro or college sports team?

It’s hard to say. There are a few professionals in every sport I really am blown away by. My favorite pro team I follow is the Yankees, and my favorite college sports team has got to be the QU Bobcats, of course. 

What is your favorite music to listen to warming up for a game?

I really enjoy country music before a game. It has a great baseball-esque vibe to it.

If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?

I think my preferred super power would to be stretchy like the mom from the Incredibles. The possibilities seem endless and it would be easy to throw gas with super long, stretchy limbs.

If you could pick one place to visit on vacation that you’ve never been to, where would you go and why?

I’ve seen pictures of Thailand and it just looks tranquil and amazing. Definitely somewhere I’d like to vacation.

What is your favorite food to eat before or after a game?

Nothing specific. I usually like a good deli sandwich or bagel before games. Sometimes I’ll grab pizza after games. I’ll eat whatever—I’m not very picky.

Best place to eat in North Salem and why?

Considering there aren’t many places, and some of them can be far overpriced in my opinion, I’d say my kitchen.

Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or Instagram? Why?

I use all of them avidly except Facebook. They keep me updated and all, but Facebook died out for me.

For a young athlete growing up in North Salem, what would you tell them about the experience of being part of the baseball program and why should they go out for the team?

I find that everyone has tried playing baseball at some point or another and that is for good reason. It’s a unifying sport and is unique. Our coaches have so much passion for the game and for us to be successful. We come together as one unit and it’s a great feeling to be a part of the baseball family.

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