D-I Baseball Goal For Kennell Ends At Gardner-Webb


Bruce Hefflinger
PBR Michigan Senior Writer

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D-I Baseball Goal For Kennell Ends At Gardner-Webb

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To view the uncommitted spotlights, click here.

 

Ryan Kennell

Class of 2022 / SS

Player Information

  • Graduating Class: 2022
  • Primary Position: SS
    Secondary Position: RHP
  • High School: Livonia Churchill
    State: MI
  • Summer Team: THE D LAS VEGAS
  • Height: 6-0
    Weight: 175lbs
  • Bat/Throw: R/R

Statistics

Pitching
84
Max FB
(03/07/20)
83 - 84
FB
(03/07/20)
68 - 69
CB
(06/25/19)
68 - 69
CH
74 - 76
CT
(03/07/20)
64 - 64
KN
Pitching
Max FB
84
FB
83 - 84
CB
66 - 68
CT
74 - 76
Pitching
Max FB
80
FB
78 - 80
CB
65 - 67
CH
66 - 68
Position
6.92
60-yard
(03/07/20)
87
INF Velo
(03/07/20)
87
Exit Velo
(03/07/20)
4.45
H-1st

D-I Baseball Goal For Kennell Ends At Gardner-Webb

WESTLAND - A commitment to Gardner-Webb has not altered the thinking of Ryan Kennell.

“Nothing’s changed,” the Livonia Churchill incoming junior said. “I still have to get better every day … practice the same, work the same. I’ve still got to get better.”

But the decision to play for the Big South Conference university located in Boiling Springs, N.C. does bring a sense of satisfaction.

“For the longest time I’ve dreamed of playing Division I baseball in the south,” related the second-rated shortstop in Michigan’s 2022 class. “We’ve taken trips to the south and I like how it’s warm and has beautiful scenery. I’ve always liked North Carolina and made it a goal to play somewhere down there. Now I’ve accomplished it.”

It was about a year ago that G-W and Kennell began communicating.

“They saw me in a tournament,” Kennell noted. “They liked how I hit for average and how I played in the infield.”

The 5-11 170-pounder has worked hard since then.

“I’ve really grinded in the weight room over the last year,” Kennell said. “I’ve put on 15 to 20 pounds and it’s helped me improve my speed and my arm strength.

“But I need to add more weight. I want to get bigger, stronger, faster. Basically, I just want to improve my overall game.”

Talks with Jim Chester, who took over as head coach at Gardner-Webb in June of 2019, played a major role in helping the 14th-ranked junior in the state make a final decision on committing.

“Coach Chester is one of the big reasons I chose Gardner-Webb,” pointed out Kennell, who was also getting interest from Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan and Bucknell. “I just felt comfortable with him.”

An offer came in mid-June, not long after PBR National Crosschecker Shooter Hunt listed Kennell among eight promising uncommitted 2022 players that just missed making the overall national rankings for incoming juniors.

“There looks to be more power probable as he continues to fill out an athletic frame and add strength,” Hunt said. “His athleticism will likely provide versatility at the next level where he may have the ability to play any position both on the dirt and in the outfield. Combine all that with a loose, continuous arm on the mound that worked 83-84 in a preseason bullpen, and there is lots to dream on about Kennell’s potential as he continues to gain more experience.”

A month-and-a-half later, Kennell made the commitment.

“I waited to make sure I was making the right decision,” explained Kennell. “Two weeks ago on our way to a tournament in Georgia we drove by and looked around. It was really nice, I loved the campus. I felt it was the right place for me.”

The idea of playing baseball in college started early for Kennell.

“From a young age I’ve played at a high level, but I knew I had to put in the work to stay near the top,” Kennell noted. “About two years ago I had my first college call and everything went up from there.”

Still only 16, Kennell understands the importance his parents and coaches played in his baseball journey to now.

“They pushed me everyday to be my best,” Kennell said. “Putting in the extra work helped me get where I am.”

A 3.6 student undecided on a college major (business is a consideration at this point in time), Kennell believes defense will be a big part of his success at Gardner-Webb.

“I think I can bring to the program a middle infielder that hits for average and has a high percentage as a fielder making all the plays,” Kennell said.

An end to the recruiting process brings relief to the fifth-rated uncommitted 2022 in Michigan prior to the final decision of making a college home at Gardner-Webb.

“It was a whirlwind,” Kennell said of his recruitment. “Calling coaches every week and talking about how things are going was exciting, but I’m happy to get it over with and accomplish my goal of D-I baseball. It took a lot of work, but I finally achieved my goal.”