Kirby makes a call to the bullpen at Clemson


Provided by Cole Kirby

Kirby receives pitch and frames it in the strike zone.

James McDermott, Sports Editor

Senior Captain of the Westford Academy Baseball team Cole Kirby has played on the baseball fields of Westford for as long as he can remember. Although he has made the decision to not pursue playing baseball in college, he plans to ensure baseball remains a part of his life.

Kirby developed his love for the game at a very young age, playing Cal Ripken baseball for Westford Youth Baseball throughout his childhood. 

“Ever since I can remember I have had a baseball in my hand,” Kirby said. “Many of my relationships that I have created have been through baseball, as well as many life lessons that I have learned.”

As a senior, Kirby is facing the reality that this is his final season playing baseball wearing a Westford uniform. While it will be in the back of Kirby’s mind throughout this season, he is trying to remain focused especially due to Westford Academy’s dominant 10-0 record.

“I try not to get too sentimental about it. I try to treat this season as if it is any other season, especially since our team is performing very well so far. There really isn’t any time to think about that stuff, just time to keep practicing and preparing for each matchup,” Kirby said.

Westford Academy Varsity Baseball Coach, Mike Parent, expressed how proud he is of Cole’s growth throughout high school as a player and an individual.

“Cole has grown tremendously since his freshman year. As a catcher, he is a student of the game. He loves to review scouting reports and any tips he can gain from his coaches and pitchers,” Parent said. “Cole is also an excellent role model for all the players in the program. He organized all of the off-season workouts and leads by example.”

The opportunity to play baseball for four more years if he were to pursue college ball was tempting to Kirby, but he decided to look at the big picture.

After his high school baseball experience was impacted greatly by COVID-19, Kirby chose to be realistic with himself.

“I know that I’m not going to the MLB or anything so I didn’t want to sacrifice my education just to play baseball,” Kirby said. “My approach was to use baseball as a way to get into better schools, which didn’t quite work out. I would much rather ensure my success in my future career if that means sacrificing baseball.”

With that being said, Kirby is not ready to give up baseball completely. After deciding to continue his academic career at Clemson University with a major in Industrial Engineering, he began looking into what opportunities are available for him to keep baseball cemented in his life.

“I know that baseball will always be a part of who I am and my goal is to continue to play and enjoy the game, even if that doesn’t mean being an actual player,” Kirby said.

At the moment Kirby’s main goal is to pursue bullpen catching. Bullpen catching would require Kirby to catch the Clemson pitchers while they warm up. It would allow Kirby to continue his catching career, while also being in a competitive environment. At the same time, Kirby acknowledges that it is no easy task. 

“Bullpen catching has been something that I have heard about and has definitely caught my attention, but there are also many other positions such as team managers and statisticians that help out the team in a variety of ways which would also be very interesting to be a part of. Even if I am not an actual player for Clemson, just being able to say that I am a part of the program is something to be proud of,” Kirby said. “I definitely plan on reaching out before I get on campus so I can get an understanding of where I may be able to fit in their program. I know it is going to be a fairly competitive position as one of the bullpen catchers actually played Division II baseball before transferring to Clemson so even the bullpen catchers are no joke as players.” 

Kirby is excited for the opportunities ahead to continue playing or being around the sport he loves in some way. He hopes it is something that will better him as a person as he navigates through the next few years ahead.

“I really just want to create as many connections as possible, whether that be through catching or managing,” Kirby said. “This opportunity will allow me to improve upon more life skills that I may need in my future, so I see this as an opportunity to try something new and expand my horizons.”