PERTH Heat rising baseball star Sam Kennelly has signed his first Major League Baseball contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The 17-year-old is the fourth Kennelly brother to join an MLB team and will travel to the United States later this year to live his childhood dream.
“Nothing is ever going to hold me back so I have to keep working hard and have fun along the way,” he said.
Kennelly, of Forrestdale, started playing baseball at the Melville Braves Baseball Club.
“I remember playing my first games on a Saturday morning. I would get dressed in my baseball gear in the car and go play with my older brother, Josh.
“Then on a Sunday I would put my uniform back on and be a bat boy,” he said.
The athlete was also considering pursuing football, after playing with East Fremantle last season, but was forced to choose between the two sports when offered a contract by the Pirates.
“Giving up footy was one of the biggest sacrifices; I always enjoyed playing and my friends were there,” he said.
“It could have gone either way but I couldn’t give up baseball.”
Kennelly is excited to experience the baseball atmosphere in the United States.
“In America you play 162 games a year.
“I look forward to being around guys that are bigger and stronger.
“You’re fighting for the same spot in the team so it’s good competition.
“I know I’m ready for it.”
Kennelly said being away from his family would be difficult.
“We all love each other and we are a very tight family. I don’t have a favourite; I look up to all my brothers,” he said.
“My parents have been incredible. We are lucky boys to have mum and dad.
“They have paid for all our trips and took us to training.”
Kennelly will officially join the Pirates when he completes Year 12 this year at South Fremantle Senior High School.
“Sometimes it’s tough to go from school and then straight to baseball. I love baseball so I balance it out and enjoy both school and baseball,” he said.