MARSHFIELD — Kevin Kwedor stood on an artificial mound inside the Atlantic Baseball Club and twirled a ball in his hand, almost as if he was familiarizing himself with the feel of the baseball.
It was lightly raining outside and there had been occasional downpours all day, putting Marshfield Post 88’s American Legion game at Wareham Post 220 in serious jeopardy Wednesday night.
The southpaw desperately wanted to pitch.
He already towers over most of his team, but his 6-foot-4, 185-pound frame looks all the more imposing when he is standing atop the mound. He stretched from the windup and delivered a few light tosses.
They were the first pitches he had thrown in six days, since Kwedor, in the final start of his high school career, and his Marshfield High teammates fell to Norwood in the Division 1 South quarterfinals, 11-10.
“It was bad,” said Kwedor. “I thought I was good [to go], but I threw the Brookline game [first of the tournament] and the Plymouth North game [in the regular season finale], so I guess I didn’t have all my velocity. . . . I haven’t pitched since then. It’s been bothering me.”
The Norwood loss was a demoralizing finish to what had been a stellar season for the senior ace (8-1 record, 1.53 earned run average).
Now he is trying to make the best of the summer season.
His highs were preceded by a series of lows. In 2011 during the last day of tryouts, Kwedor suffered a concussion after he was hit in the head by a ball, forcing him to miss a few starts.
When he did return, he just wasn’t the same — groggy, and kind of sluggish — not showing the promise of his sophomore year. He was also dealing with an elbow strain. Marshfield lost in the first round of the South tourney.
Yet a 13-strikeout performance against Nauset his sophomore year had left quite an impression on Southern New Hampshire University, which offered Kwedor a scholarship last November.
In the offseason, he worked with pitching coach Steve Almonte at the Cape Cod Baseball Club in Bourne and entered tryouts this season symptom-free, but with some clear trepidation. Kwedor was afraid he would have the same problems as last spring.
With each outing, his confidence grew.
In his first start, he shut out Duxbury, 15-0. In his third start, he outdueled Casey DeAndrade and eventual Division 3 South champion East Bridgewater. He did not yield a run in his first four starts.
In the regular season finale, he stymied eventual Division 2 state finalist Plymouth North on three hits, fanning 11, while allowing no earned runs to clinch a share of the Atlantic Coast League title with Dennis-Yarmouth.
“I think that was my favorite game of the season,” said Max DiTondo , a senior centerfielder bound for Division 2 power Franklin Pierce this fall.
“It meant so much to everyone on the team, especially [Marshfield coach Bill Battis ]. Kevin pitched great in that game. Everybody had so much fire and everybody came together and did their job, did what they had to do.”
In the Rams’ 15-5 regular-season run, Kwedor was 7-0 record with a 0.33 earned run average over 43 innings pitched, allowing only two earned runs and 26 hits. He struck out 67 and allowed only six walks.
With the 3-0 win over Brookline in the tourney, he recorded his 14th career win, the most in Battis’s tenure as coach.
Kwedor, though, will remember the Norwood game the most, and that is why he is itching to start his first season of Legion ball.
“I think he can bring a lot to this team,” said Marshfield Post coach Terence O’Brien , in his first season with the club. “He brings experience, he’s a senior, going to college next year to pitch. Good fastball, good breaking ball, and good leadership.
“I think the kids have a lot of confidence in him. He goes out there and they know what to expect,’’ the coach said. “They know he is going to give it his all out there, throw strikes, and keep them in the game. I think it’s a confidence thing. He’s going to pitch a strong game and he’s going to go deep into games.”
In its first season as a program in Zone 10 last summer, Marshfield finished 10-8-2.
Now a season wiser and more experienced, Marshfield is ready to take a step forward, with Kwedor taking a lead role.
“If I had to face him I’d be scared,” said DiTondo. “I’d be scared to face him as a team.”
“He’s a quiet kid,” said O’Brien. “He shows his leadership through his play. He’s obviously there for his teammates, but he doesn’t show much emotion out there, which is a good thing as a pitcher.”
With his selection to Monday’s MBCA North-South All-Star game at Fraser Field in Lynn, Kwedor is scheduled to work a few innings out of the bullpen Sunday, against either visiting Hanover or Orleans in a twinbill.
“I hope to help [my teammates] as much as I did in high school,” said Kwedor. “I hope to live up to what I did in the spring.”
“I don’t know if I can do it again, but I’m going to try.”
Big baseball win
for E. Bridgewater
On May 24, the East Bridgewater baseball team lost a 1-0 showdown for the South Shore League title against Cohasset. Two weeks later, though, the Vikings, and the seniors in particular, secured their legacy with a 5-0 victory over Apponequet in the Division 3 South title game at Campanelli Stadium in Brockton.
“It means everything,” said senior captain Casey DeAndrade after the victory over the Lakers.
“This means so much more” than the South Shore League crown. “We lost to football in the last game of the season, too, so this [victory] means 10 times more.” East Bridgewater lost in the EMass to North Reading, 5-3, finishing 18-5.
Here and there
After crushing opponents by an average of five runs per game in the regular season, the Bridgewater-Raynham softball team was pushed to the limit in the Division 1 South tourney. After a 17-3 win over Walpole in the first round, the Trojans pulled out three extra-inning wins before falling to Malden, 5-4 in nine innings, in the state semifinals to finish 22-3 overall . . . . Marshfield coach Bill Bettis and Jeff Sylvia (Dartmouth) will coach the South All-Star squad of seniors Monday night in Lynn. The roster includes pitchers Kevin Kwedor (Marshfield); Zach Schindler (Silver Lake); Luke Nagle (Pembroke); Javier Lozada (New Bedford); Patrick Delano (Braintree); and Koby Mitchell (Bishop Connolly); infielders Brendan Skidmore (Franklin); Adam Fournier (Dartmouth); Sam Jordan (Dover-Sherborn); Evan Mondor (Dighton-Rehoboth); and Sean O’Neill (Norwood); outfielders Casey DeAndrade (East Bridgewater); Max DiTondo (Marshfield); and Ryan Olmo (North Attleboro); and catchers Joe Walsh (Taunton) and Bobby Melley (BC High).