By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
Tuesday morning was a historic day for Baseball player Kennard Dawson. In his first trip to Italy, he became the first BVI player to play for a Great Britain Under 23 Baseball National team. He played in his first European U23 Baseball Championships. Normally a Catcher, he played Right Field for the first time since Jr. High School. In the top of the 6th inning, he had his first international hit, a single that drove in Great Britain’s third run, during a 3-0 victory over France.
Dawson told Island Sun Sports that in his first at bat, it was about being aggressive, getting his pitch and trying to do damage with it. He got the barrel on it and hit it to the Shortstop. On his next trip to the dish, he was ahead in the count, which got evened at 2-2. He got a slider—while expecting a fastball—changed his stance a little bit, and the ball eluded the catcher and he ended up on First Base, where he was one of seven players stranded for Great Britain in the game.
With runners on 1st and 3rd in the top of the sixth, he got two sliders out of the zone, which he took.
“I knew then he was going to charge me with a fast ball because he didn’t want to load the bases,” Dawson reflected. “So I got the pitch I was looking for and I shot it back to right field for a single—first international hit.”
Dawson equated the championships to a College Baseball playoffs, where you’re trying to conserve arms, watch pitch count and every pitch is pretty much as important as the last pitch.
“It’s very similar, the philosophy is a little bit different , but it’s good playing in different styles so you could improve yourself,” he noted.
Playing right field was also different for Dawson—something he hadn’t done since Jr. High School—as he’s been catching.
“Going through practice, the coaches liked my swing and they liked the other catcher’s swing as well, but the difference between the two of us was, I could be a little more versatile in the positions I could play,” he explained. “So they asked me to play a little bit of right field for them, maybe a little bit of first base if needed so I told them I was ready to play wherever they needed me and whenever they wanted, just let me know.”
Dawson joined Nateshon “Shadow” Thomas, as the 2nd BVI player to play for Great Britain. Thomas, who plays baseball in Germany, will play with Great Britain in the European Sr. Championships, Sept 11-19, in Pietmonte, Italy. He debuted for Great Britain in 2016 and also played in the World baseball Classic in New York.