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Freshman Phenom Heady has Big Opening Day
by Ben Tompkins,posted Feb 15 2014 1:40PM
As the headline yesterday read Kentucky defeats No. 1 ranked Virginia, today’s headline reads a little differently.
A rising narrative surrounding the University of Kentucky baseball season this year will be the emergence of freshman second baseman Connor Heady. The refined talent that the Prospect native brings to the Wildcats will serve this season as a reminder that the basketball team in Lexington isn’t the only one that yields diaper dandies.
Heady, a 6-0 170-pound utility infielder from North Oldham High School, recorded a game of firsts; his first game in a UK uniform, his first win against a top ranked team and his first statistics logged as a Cat.
As UK handily defeated Virginia 8-3 yesterday in their season opener, Heady began his tenure as the starting second baseman under six-year head coach Gary Henderson.
Batting ninth in the lineup, Heady struck out swinging during his first at bat in the third inning. Kentucky was able to take advantage of a shaky pitching performance by Virginia’s Branden Waddell as they batted through the order, sending Heady to the plate once again in the fourth inning.
Digging in with teammate JaVon Shelby on first base, Heady roped a double to left field that would send Shelby around the bases to extend the UK lead to 4-1. For the former USA Baseball U-18 National Teamer, it was his first hit and RBI as a Wildcat.
Reaching first base in the sixth inning due to a walk, Heady’s first stolen base would come a few pitches later when he turned his secondary lead into a 60-yard dash. As a well-known draft prospect, many scouts are quick to commend Heady on his base path quickness: he runs a 6.5.
His final plate appearance came in the eighth inning as he laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Shelby to second base. A strategic move that would later set up the Shelby run scored, Heady was done for the day having batted 1-2 with an RBI and stolen base.
The former No. 3 prospect in the state and five-year varsity letterman, Heady was named preseason as the 12th best freshman in SEC and 38th best freshman in NCAA by Baseball America.
Look for the freshman slugger to make a splash this year and become one of the premiere players that Kentucky fields in seasons to follow.
Ben Tompkins is an intern and contributing writer for WLXG ESPN Sports Radio 1300. Follow him on Twitter @bennytomp18, on Instagram @bennythekid01, and like his page on Facebook, Benny & The Jets.