Picking up the sport at an early age, Andover Baseball Co-Captain LJ Keevan ’21 has evolved from a t-ball player to the starting pitcher for Big Blue Baseball. According to Keevan, a coincidental meeting with Head Coach Kevin Graber at a summer game first sparked his interest in Andover.
Keevan said, “I’ve been playing baseball for as long as I can remember. I was probably five [years old], I played t-ball, and it kind of just went from there. Before Andover, I played on a bunch of travel teams, and [Graber] was at my travel game. He was just looking for kids who played baseball in the local area that had good grades, and he happened to be at a game that I was playing in, along with Jonathan Santucci ’21, Jack Penney ’21, and Matt Sapienza ’21. All four of us were playing in that game, and we all ended up going here, and three of us are [co-captains] now, so that’s pretty cool.”
A pitcher, Keevan was initially drawn to the position from his desire to control the game. Growing up, he looked up to former Boston Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester as a role model as they both pitched left-handed.
“I like being in control of the game, and I always liked watching Jon Lester growing up, he played for the Red Sox. He was my favorite pitcher, and I kind of wanted to be like him because we’re both lefties. He was kind of my role model growing up as a baseball player, and I just like the thrill of pitching. It’s one of the best feelings when you strike someone out; that’s honestly the best feeling in baseball– you feel really cool after doing it,” said Keevan.
Since coming to Andover, Keevan’s pitching abilities have been an integral part of the team’s success; in the 2019 season, the team finished the season with a 13-2 record and reached the Central New England Prep Semifinal game. According to Co-Captain Matt Sapienza ’21, Keevan’s prowess on the field and inspiring leadership qualities made him a suited choice for co-captain.
“[Keevan] really is a good example of what it is to be a part of a team. He is someone who is easy to talk to and become friends with. He also plays for the name on the front of the jersey and not the back… He likes to have fun and make the most out of being a part of Big Blue Baseball but also knows when to be serious and take care of business. He’s trustworthy and very friendly especially with the underclassmen on the team… As far as baseball goes, [Keevan] is always on his A game. He is a leader on the mound and a beast at the plate,” Sapienza wrote in an email to The Phillipian.
Just last year, Keevan committed to the University of Massachusetts Lowell to further pursue his baseball and academic career. According to Keevan, numerous coaches throughout his career helped him reach this point, and moving forward, he looks to take the lessons he has learned from Andover to his college experience.
Keevan said, “The coaches here at Andover and also the baseball coaches I had conversations with throughout the whole recruiting process [have] helped me every step of the way… The big things that I know I’m going to take into college are positive energy and positive mindset, and just working hard. Putting in 100 percent effort all the time, [Graber] has helped us and trained us to be able to compete at the college level, so I think he’s done a great job preparing us for college in that sense.”
As interscholastic competition resumes this spring, Keevan looks to cultivate a light-hearted environment with the team while maintaining focus on success.
“As a [co-captain], I just want to do everything I can to keep positive energy on the team and be there for any guys that need me or anything like that… When we face adversity, we just need to know that we have each other’s backs. Even if someone isn’t having their best game, there’s always someone there that is going to pick them up and keep the game going for the team… As a team, obviously, our first priority is success, we want to win our games. Even if we don’t have a league or playoff championship we’re playing for, we still want to get out there and win every single day,” said Keevan.