Bobcats get Hagan for hill

Westfield High School senior Jimmy Hagan, center, is pictured with his father, Jim, left, and mother, Kristin, right, on his official signing day Wednesday. Hagan inked a letter of intent to play baseball for Quinnipiac University next fall. (Submitted photo)

WESTFIELD – The Whip City has seen its fair share of All-Star ball players move up through the ranks of youth level organizations, high school ball clubs, and on to the next level at colleges and universities such as Westfield State, the University of Massachusetts, and elsewhere throughout the state, and the country.
It should come as no surprise, then, that the larger baseball community welcomes another home-grown talent.
Westfield High School pitcher/shortstop Jimmy Hagan officially signed his letter of intent this week to play for Division 1 school, Quinnipiac University, next fall, where he also plans to major in business management.
“It’s really cool,” Hagan said, upon reflecting on his decision to sign on with the Bobcats. “I’m just trying to play as long as I can and try to get drafted (by a Major League Baseball organization).”
Hagan first began to excel for Westfield Little League and Babe Ruth during his early years. Then, last year, he began to take flight with the Westfield Bombers.
His most memorable moment came late in the season when he tossed a complete game against Longmeadow for a 2-1 victory. In that game, Hagan struck out seven batters and allowed just one run on three hits. He walked none.
“That was a great outing,” Westfield High School varsity head coach Mike Kennedy said. “He kept his pitch count down and had control of every pitch.
Hagan agreed.
“That was probably my best game,” he said.
Coach Kennedy said it is Hagan’s drive and perseverance that has made him the player he is today.
“It’s because of his work ethic,” Kennedy said. “Jimmy’s a very good listener and learner. He takes what you give him and works on it. It’s all the extra things he puts into (the sport).”
During the last few offseasons, Hagan participated in a well-known, highly-regarded baseball development and training facility in Palmer, Advanced Performance Academy.
He also attended a summer camp at the University of Connecticut, where scouts from Quinnipiac and other schools took notice.

Westfield pitcher Jimmy Hagan deals from the mound against Longmeadow in a late season contest in 2018. (Staff Photo)

“Baseball has done a lot for me,” Hagan said. “It has opened up my options.”
Hagan continues a proud family tradition of successful athletes that began with his grandfather, Bud, who pitched for the Brooklyn Dodgers Double-A organization from 1946-49, and continued with his father, Jim, also a high school pitcher and shortstop who went on to play soccer at Assumption College.
Hagan follows in the footsteps of other former Westfield High baseball stars that went on to play collegiate ball like University of Hartford’s Chris Sullivan (2016-present), Bryant University’s Craig Lacey (2016-present), and University of Albany’s Kenny McLean (2016-present).
Other local talents like former Louisville Cardinals outfielder Ryan Summers (2014-17) and Brandeis University’s Ryan Tettemer (2014-17) and Anthony Nomakeo (2014-17) also played in the city’s youth programs before attending prep schools and making the leap to the next level.
“Westfield puts out some good talent,” said coach Kennedy. “Just growing up (in Holyoke) and playing against Westfield, I know that their youth system and coaches give their all to the kids. They’re around (the sport) a lot more, and knowledgeable.”
For the last few years, the Westfield Bombers have also been blessed to have former New York Mets pitcher Patrick Strange on their coaching staff.
Strange was an elite pitcher at Central High School, capturing the Gatorade Massachusetts Baseball Player of the Year honors in consecutive seasons (1997, ’98). He was drafted in the second round of the 1998 MLB Amateur Draft, and quickly became one of the Mets most promising arms before his career was cut short by arm problems.
Pat’s son, Brian, plays for Westfield High.

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