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Speaking softly, carrying a big stick ... and arm

Wednesday April 13, 2011

Speaking softly, carrying a big stick ... and arm

Good Counsel junior having monster season

Humility in athletics may be fleeting, but Good Counsel junior Kevin Doherty has it in spades.

The pitcher-first baseman refuses to accept credit for what is becoming one of the best individual seasons in the county.

He shrugs off the success, which includes four home runs and a near .400 batting average in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference. Instead, the University of Virginia commit only speaks glowingly of his teammates.

"Mostly, it's everybody being great teammates and making me feel really comfortable, and the defense behind me has been amazing," Doherty said. "They've been making great plays behind me and we've all really worked hard together. We've been together for so many years that it has carried over to this season and we're just playing really well."

Describing his approach at the plate and on the mound, where he has produced a 3-0 record and a 1.09 earned run average, Doherty mostly mentioned senior catcher T.J. Brockway.

"Usually, I just really focus on spotting the ball and T.J. really helps me out with what pitches to call," Doherty said. "He gives really great suggestions and he communicates really well. My curveball works well and it helps in getting groundballs. The defense behind me is a really good safety net.

"At the plate, just honestly I try not to think as much because I have a tendency to over think things. ... With T.J. coming up behind me, he's a great hitter. I know I have to get on base for him."

During a Thursday contest with Bishop McNamara, Doherty was hit by a pitch, which was not called.

No matter: He stepped back into the batter's box and ended the at-bat with a home run.

"He's playing very well," first-year Good Counsel coach Carl Smith said of Doherty. "He works very hard. He focuses on whatever he needs to get done to improve in practice. He does everything you can ask for."

Whether he wants to admit or not, Doherty's play this season has been a big reason why the Falcons (9-3) finished the weekend sitting near the top of the WCAC standings with a 6-2 mark.

Stepping into the dual-threat role vacated by current Radford (Va.) University first baseman and 2010 Gazette Player of the Year Jake Taylor, Doherty began the week with a .372 batting average (16-43).

"He has incredibly quick hands and he's taken advantage [of pitching mistakes]," Smith said. "He's been hitting them hard. He got off to a good start and I like to say confidence breeds confidence."

On the mound, Doherty owns league victories against Paul VI (Va.), Ireton (Va.) and McNamara. He has struck out 19 in his 19 1/3 innings and been a part of two shutouts.

"He's really grown since last year," St. John's coach Mark Gibbs said. "I think his experience pitching in big games last year really helped. He's a left hander. ... He doesn't look scared and he's got good stuff."

McNamara coach Larry Prange added: "On the mound, he gets ahead of the batter and he has a little something on the ball. He can throw three pitches for strikes and he just moves the ball around."

The University of Virginia, one of the country's premier teams this spring, is a dream destination for Doherty.

"I was looking at Wake Forest, Maryland, Virginia Tech and Boston College but I've always wanted to go there," Doherty said of Virginia. "Ever since I can remember, I wanted to go there. The overall experience there will be great."

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