BASEBALL: Wallingford’s O’Connell piling up accomplishments on and off the field

BASEBALL: Wallingford’s O’Connell piling up accomplishments on and off the field

BASEBALL: Wallingford’s O’Connell piling up accomplishments on and off the field

BASEBALL: Wallingford’s O’Connell piling up accomplishments on and off the field



WALLINGFORD — When your LinkedIn page is more impressive than your college baseball bio, there’s more to this Connecticut Collegiate Baseball League pitcher’s story.

In the case of Wallingford’s Brendan O’Connell, much more.

O’Connell was back on the Fontana Field mound Tuesday night twirling a gem at the Southington Shockers. But between five strikeouts over five innings of a 14-2 Silver Storm win, glancing at O’Connell’s accomplishments off the field since graduating from Lyman Hall in 2016 were tough to ignore.

Just a few of the rising senior’s highlights at Bentley…

■ A member of the college’s Honors Program with a 3.78 GPA, majoring in economics-finance.■Accepted into Bentley’s inaugural Four-Year Combined BS/MS Finance program, which will allow O’Connell to earn his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees within four years.■On the Campus Activities Board Comedy Committee, developing marketing strategies for multiple events.■ This summer, he was chosen to intern with The Travelers as part of its Financial Management Leadership Development Program.■ And in the summer of 2018, O’Connell was part of New Britain Bees Street Team, where he spoke to numerous businesses and honed his sales and promotional skills.

All this after being cut from the Bentley baseball team as a freshman.

Yes, O’Connell’s path has taken an academic turn since arriving on the Bentley campus. But that shouldn’t come as a surprise.

O’Connell was a standout in the classroom as well as on the field for the Trojans. O’Connell played four years on both the varsity baseball and basketball teams. He was a captain on both squads, and left Lyman Hall with a 4.01 GPA, which ranked 10th in his graduating class.

Now 21, O’Connell says he is ready to join “join the workforce,” as soon as he earns his diplomas next year. Which means this is his final summer of baseball – maybe.

“I’m trying to play baseball as long as I can,” O’Connell said. “I’ll play as long as my arm holds up.”

O’Connell just can’t turn his back on the game he grew up playing in Wallingford. By day, he’s an intern this summer at The Travelers. At night, he pitches for not only the Storm, where he’s 4-1 with a 1.27 ERA, but also for Ulbrich Steel in the Greater Hartford Twilight League.

Tuesday night, O’Connell was on the same mound where he tossed a no-hitter in last year’s CCBL semifinals. Wallingford would lose 2-0 a few days later to Simsbury in the 2018 CCBL championship. And in the stands for every game, as they have been since O’Connell’s days in Little League, were O’Connell’s parents John and Michelle.

Celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary Tuesday night as only baseball parents can, Lyman Hall graduate Michelle and New York transplant John reminisced about not only O’Connell’s athletic achievements, but those of their other two sons.

Brendan is the pair’s middle child. His older brother Riley is the runner in the family, while his younger brother Jameson just graduated from Lyman Hall. Jameson played soccer at LH, as did Brendan for two seasons.

But it’s been Brendan who’s kept John and Michelle in the stands the most — albeit watching baseball, basketball or soccer. As Michelle said, “(Brendan’s) first word was ‘ball.’”

So not playing baseball his freshman year at Bentley was tough on O’Connell to say the least.

“After getting cut my freshman year, that was like the low point in my life,” O’Connell said. “I really missed baseball.”

“So, I really started working out hard, and after my sophomore year (at Bentley), I started playing for this team (the Silver Storm).  And last year was so much fun with the guys,” O’Connell added.

O’Connell made the Bentley baseball team as sophomore, but didn’t throw an official pitch for the Falcons. He did pitch for Bentley in the fall of 2017, but O’Connell’s focus quickly turned to the business school’s academics.

“When I was deciding which school to go to, I made sure to pick a school where I wanted to be educational-wise, and if baseball worked out it worked out,” O’Connell said. “I wasn’t a big fan of all the college tours, they were all kind of nonsense to me. But once I walked on campus, I could see myself going (to Bentley).”

“I just love it there. I fit in with the school and everything,” O’Connell added.

O’Connell started taking graduate courses as an undergraduate in 2017. He will earn his economics-finance degree this fall, and then earn his graduate degree in finance in the spring of 2020.

In his three years at Bentley, O’Connell said he’s been exposed to all types of business opportunities. So, while pitching for the Yankees may not be in his future, his dream job – while still undetermined -- remains within reach.

“I’m still figuring it out. I think the investment side is pretty interesting,” O’Connell said “My main reason for working at Travelers (this summer) is I’m able to play in this league while working.”

“But I think all these guys in this league put education first and play baseball just to have fun,” O’Connell added. “If (baseball) takes us somewhere, it takes us somewhere.

“I know in the fall I’ll be itching to play in the summer again. That’s all I think about at school. I’ll work out and play basketball with my friends, but I’m always itching to play baseball and get back on the summer team because these guys are great to play with.”

One of those “guys” is Sheehan graduate Steve Mirra, who plays second base for the Silver Storm. Mirra was a year behind O’Connell in high school, but the two faced each other as Wallingford prep stars in 2016.

Mirra actually hit a walk-off single against O’Connell in a 9-8, nine-inning, Lyman Hall-Sheehan classic. Mirra calls it the “game of his life,” doubling twice before hitting the winning single.

Like O’Connell, this is Mirra’s second summer with the Silver Storm. But unlike O’Connell, Mirra has gotten plenty of playing time in college. The 2017 Sheehan grad has gone on to star at Mount Saint Mary College, where he hit .345 last season as a sophomore.

Still, it’s the summer that Mirra looks forward to the most.

“I love to see kids who just love to play baseball,” Mirra said. “I talk to a lot of my friends who’ve quit baseball at an early age, maybe after high school, and they always miss it.”

“I see us as a group of college players who just want to play baseball,” Mirra added. “I always look forward to summer baseball. It’s always fun.”


WALLINGFORD — When your LinkedIn page is more impressive than your college baseball bio, there’s more to this Connecticut Collegiate Baseball League pitcher’s story.

In the case of Wallingford’s Brendan O’Connell, much more.

O’Connell was back on the Fontana Field mound Tuesday night twirling a gem at the Southington Shockers. But between five strikeouts over five innings of a 14-2 Silver Storm win, glancing at O’Connell’s accomplishments off the field since graduating from Lyman Hall in 2016 were tough to ignore.

Just a few of the rising senior’s highlights at Bentley…

■ A member of the college’s Honors Program with a 3.78 GPA, majoring in economics-finance.■Accepted into Bentley’s inaugural Four-Year Combined BS/MS Finance program, which will allow O’Connell to earn his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees within four years.■On the Campus Activities Board Comedy Committee, developing marketing strategies for multiple events.■ This summer, he was chosen to intern with The Travelers as part of its Financial Management Leadership Development Program.■ And in the summer of 2018, O’Connell was part of New Britain Bees Street Team, where he spoke to numerous businesses and honed his sales and promotional skills.

All this after being cut from the Bentley baseball team as a freshman.

Yes, O’Connell’s path has taken an academic turn since arriving on the Bentley campus. But that shouldn’t come as a surprise.

O’Connell was a standout in the classroom as well as on the field for the Trojans. O’Connell played four years on both the varsity baseball and basketball teams. He was a captain on both squads, and left Lyman Hall with a 4.01 GPA, which ranked 10th in his graduating class.

Now 21, O’Connell says he is ready to join “join the workforce,” as soon as he earns his diplomas next year. Which means this is his final summer of baseball – maybe.

“I’m trying to play baseball as long as I can,” O’Connell said. “I’ll play as long as my arm holds up.”

O’Connell just can’t turn his back on the game he grew up playing in Wallingford. By day, he’s an intern this summer at The Travelers. At night, he pitches for not only the Storm, where he’s 4-1 with a 1.27 ERA, but also for Ulbrich Steel in the Greater Hartford Twilight League.

Tuesday night, O’Connell was on the same mound where he tossed a no-hitter in last year’s CCBL semifinals. Wallingford would lose 2-0 a few days later to Simsbury in the 2018 CCBL championship. And in the stands for every game, as they have been since O’Connell’s days in Little League, were O’Connell’s parents John and Michelle.

Celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary Tuesday night as only baseball parents can, Lyman Hall graduate Michelle and New York transplant John reminisced about not only O’Connell’s athletic achievements, but those of their other two sons.

Brendan is the pair’s middle child. His older brother Riley is the runner in the family, while his younger brother Jameson just graduated from Lyman Hall. Jameson played soccer at LH, as did Brendan for two seasons.

But it’s been Brendan who’s kept John and Michelle in the stands the most — albeit watching baseball, basketball or soccer. As Michelle said, “(Brendan’s) first word was ‘ball.’”

So not playing baseball his freshman year at Bentley was tough on O’Connell to say the least.

“After getting cut my freshman year, that was like the low point in my life,” O’Connell said. “I really missed baseball.”

“So, I really started working out hard, and after my sophomore year (at Bentley), I started playing for this team (the Silver Storm).  And last year was so much fun with the guys,” O’Connell added.

O’Connell made the Bentley baseball team as sophomore, but didn’t throw an official pitch for the Falcons. He did pitch for Bentley in the fall of 2017, but O’Connell’s focus quickly turned to the business school’s academics.

“When I was deciding which school to go to, I made sure to pick a school where I wanted to be educational-wise, and if baseball worked out it worked out,” O’Connell said. “I wasn’t a big fan of all the college tours, they were all kind of nonsense to me. But once I walked on campus, I could see myself going (to Bentley).”

“I just love it there. I fit in with the school and everything,” O’Connell added.

O’Connell started taking graduate courses as an undergraduate in 2017. He will earn his economics-finance degree this fall, and then earn his graduate degree in finance in the spring of 2020.

In his three years at Bentley, O’Connell said he’s been exposed to all types of business opportunities. So, while pitching for the Yankees may not be in his future, his dream job – while still undetermined -- remains within reach.

“I’m still figuring it out. I think the investment side is pretty interesting,” O’Connell said “My main reason for working at Travelers (this summer) is I’m able to play in this league while working.”

“But I think all these guys in this league put education first and play baseball just to have fun,” O’Connell added. “If (baseball) takes us somewhere, it takes us somewhere.

“I know in the fall I’ll be itching to play in the summer again. That’s all I think about at school. I’ll work out and play basketball with my friends, but I’m always itching to play baseball and get back on the summer team because these guys are great to play with.”

One of those “guys” is Sheehan graduate Steve Mirra, who plays second base for the Silver Storm. Mirra was a year behind O’Connell in high school, but the two faced each other as Wallingford prep stars in 2016.

Mirra actually hit a walk-off single against O’Connell in a 9-8, nine-inning, Lyman Hall-Sheehan classic. Mirra calls it the “game of his life,” doubling twice before hitting the winning single.

Like O’Connell, this is Mirra’s second summer with the Silver Storm. But unlike O’Connell, Mirra has gotten plenty of playing time in college. The 2017 Sheehan grad has gone on to star at Mount Saint Mary College, where he hit .345 last season as a sophomore.

Still, it’s the summer that Mirra looks forward to the most.

“I love to see kids who just love to play baseball,” Mirra said. “I talk to a lot of my friends who’ve quit baseball at an early age, maybe after high school, and they always miss it.”

“I see us as a group of college players who just want to play baseball,” Mirra added. “I always look forward to summer baseball. It’s always fun.”


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