Hayden Kelehan

Hayden Kelehan pitches for the Mavericks in the Marshall Baseball Classic Saturday.

Last year as a junior, Hayden Kelehan was feeling confident on the baseball diamond but then his season was cut short.

“I think last year I was doing great,” Kelehan said. “I was on the mound dominating.”

Now that he’s a senior, he’s looking to finishing what he started last year and keep the momentum going to make a memorable senior season.

“I think just mentally I have control,” he said when asked how he’s improved his individual game since last year. “You can’t play baseball angry. I can definitely control that a lot better.”

Being able to control the mental side didn’t come overnight.

“It definitely took a lot of work, specially coming from freshman year to now,” Kelehan said. “I’ve definitely improved in the mental aspect of the game. That comes with maturity.”

“He’s one of the few vocal guys we have,” Marshall head baseball coach Derek Dunaway said of Kelehan. “His actions, the way he carries himself and the way he works, he leads in that way but he’s one of the few guys who will call somebody out when they’re not doing what they’re supposed to be doing. I think that’s one of the main differences is that he has been pretty vocal in leading.

“He’s one of our guys on the mound,” Dunaway continued. “He’s at the top of the lineup. He can play in the outfield. He can play first base. He can play short stop. About the only thing he can’t do is catch, just because we haven’t tried that yet.”

As for the team, Kelehan said he expects his Mavericks to surprise a lot of people.

“We’ve just got to take it game by game and we’ve got to get better every day,” he offered. “We’ve got to hit the ball and just play baseball.”

After high school, Kelehan plans to attend University of Texas to major in biology to become a doctor.

“I was thinking about playing sports,” he said.

Instead, this will be his last chapter of playing sports as he hopes to make it a good one.

“We’ve gotten so much better,” he of his Mavericks. “The thing we lack the most is just experience because last year we didn’t’ get to have a season. So I think as we play more and more, we’re getting better every day.”

That’s exactly what Dunaway hopes the Mavs are able to improve on in their Spring Hill Tournament games this week.

“With the COVID and everything, we pushed our schedule back one game so we start district on Tuesday,” Dunaway explained. “So we’re really preparing for that Tuesday game and we’re going to have shuffle our pitching around a little bit to make sure everybody’s ready for that Tuesday game. Coming off that last tournament, we saw a few good things but a lot of things that we made mistakes with that were correctable mistakes. We’ve had great practices this week. Our guys have really bought into just grinding and getting the reps in and getting better every single day at practice. We’d like to see the fruits of our labor from practice this week pay off in the tournament and hopefully we’re not making as many mistakes and we play some good baseball.”

The Mavericks are slated to return to action today at 10 a.m. when they go head-to-head against Wills Point at Spring Hill.

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