Fans, family sway Kelly’s commitmentWhen Pat Kelly visited the University of Nebraska in May 2008, he watched the Huskers baseball team play Texas A&M. The game went 16 innings and got over at midnight.
By: Ryan Nilsson, The Republican Eagle
When Pat Kelly visited the University of Nebraska in May 2008, he watched the Huskers baseball team play Texas A&M. The game went 16 innings and got over at midnight.
Yet, many of the 8,708 fans remained until the end to see the Aggies win 6-3. Their loyalty to the Huskers made a strong impression on Kelly and is one of the primary reasons the Red Wing junior provided Nebraska baseball coach Mike Anderson with a verbal commitment Monday.
"They don't really have a pro team down there to support or anything so everyone just kind of supports the Huskers. It's pretty cool," said Kelly.
There also was a familial factor in his decision. Kelly's dad, Jim, attended the school on a football scholarship. A knee injury prevented Jim Kelly from playing a down for the Huskers.
Kelly and his dad returned to Lincoln last weekend. Before Nebraska played host to Texas Tech in football Oct. 17, Anderson offered Kelly a scholarship.
Kelly caught the attention of Nebraska assistant Eric Newman in August at the Area Code Games in Long Beach, Calif. Kelly played every infield position except first base during the six-game showcase and didn't commit an error. He finished with two hits and hit several balls hard.
His ability to wield a bat makes Kelly an alluring prospect, according to Wingers baseball coach Jim Bohmbach.
"He really stays inside the ball and hits with tremendous power to the opposite field, which is really hard to get anybody to do," Bohmbach said.
Kelly showcased that power during the Section 1AAA tournament in May when he hit a massive three-run home run against Rochester John Marshall.
"It was unbelievable," Bohmbach said.
There's much more to Kelly than power and a 6.7 time in the 60-yard dash, though.
He possesses an unmatched intensity and work ethic. He wants to field ground balls before and after practice. Kelly never seems to get enough.
"He's always up at the cages hitting," Bohmbach said. "I think I saw him just a couple days ago up there. I drove by the Ath and there he was in the cage hitting. He's got the drive.
"I have never seen anybody in baseball with that kind of drive. I've seen some people maybe in hockey or football have that kind of drive in Red Wing, but nobody with the drive that he's got for baseball."
As a sophomore at Red Wing, Kelly hit .394 with three home runs and 28 RBI on his way to being named all-Missota Conference.
Kelly is scheduled to sign with Nebraska on July 1, 2010, and it's possible he will be selected in the Major League Baseball entry draft the following summer.
"I was just kind of talking to my dad and I said, 'I got that goal and dream down. I've got that accomplished," Kelly said of signing with Nebraska. "Now I've got to work even harder to the draft, to the June 2011 draft. That's my next goal and dream."