Liam O’Connor Chosen for Irish Junior National Baseball Team


McKenzie M

Liam O’Connor stands in the SJHHS baseball field while wearing his Stallion baseball uniform.

Katie Brubaker

This summer, varsity baseball player Liam O’Connor will be a long ways away from the home base plate on the Stallion baseball diamond. Instead, O’Connor will be training and competing with the Irish Junior National Baseball Team in Grosseto Italy.

O’Connor was first introduced to the European Baseball Classic when his father stumbled upon an advertisement for it through social media.

“My dad is very active on Facebook, and he follows a bunch of Irish Facebook pages since he is very into his Irish heritage. From one of the accounts, he saw an advertisement asking specifically for baseball players under the age of eighteen for the Irish team,” said O’Connor.

After that, O’Connor’s father investigated further into the possibility of his son joining the team.

“When he saw those advertisements he asked around about it and about how I could apply for the team. After going back and forth through social media for awhile with team representatives, we finally sent in videos of games I’ve played in to give the team officials an idea of who I am as a player,” said O’Connor.

Apparently, a large portion of O’Connor’s family is Irish. Furthermore, O’Connor is not only half Irish, but has Irish citizenship.

In order to be a part of the Irish team, a player does not have to be from Ireland, but just has to have their Irish citizenship. “As a team we are all very spread out. Mostly we come from either the United States or Ireland,” said O’Connor.

While players are from all over, O’Connor has had the chance to meet one of his future teammates. “I have only met with one of the teammates so far. My grandmother from Ireland knows his grandmother since they worked together, so my dad and his mom had a connection. We met up with him over spring break at the Wind and Sea restaurant in Dana Point,” said O’Connor.

The O’Connors will leave from New York for Italy on July 6. The first game for the Irish team in the  tournament is July 8, and the tournament will end on July 15. “It’s basically a week of pure games and seeding. We get there, grind it out, and then leave,” said O’Connor.

The team has matches with other countries such as Spain, Lithuania, Germany, and Italy, and most of their matches will be played at either Jannella Stadium or Scarpelli Stadium.

With the great unknown ahead of him in a foreign country, O’Connor manages to remain utterly cool and collected. Regarding his upcoming journey and participation in the European Baseball Classic, O’Connor said, “I’m much more curious than I am anxious. I do get a nervous build up before games all the time, but I just want to see how well these teams from other countries play.”

I’m much more curious than I am anxious. I do get a nervous build up before games all the time, but I just want to see how well these teams from other countries play.

— Liam O'Connor

One aspect of the trip that O’Connor looks forward to is getting the chance to see how well each individual country plays baseball. “We are supposed to play Spain our first day, and they are supposed to be pretty good. Going into the competition, I just want to see how strong their players are and how our Irish players will match up against them,” said O’connor.

O’Connor would also like to continue playing baseball not only into the summer and through his Senior year of high school, but also plans on playing in college. “I’d like to hopefully play in college, it just depends on how things go,” said O’Connor.

With the summer months quickly approaching and O’Connor’s tournament in Italy becoming more and more of a reality, it seems that O’Connor has definitely hit a home run in terms of summer plans.