Teen converts U.S. fastball experience into scholarship

Northern Collegiate student Kennedy Dietz will take the field with Ohio’s Shawnee State University in the fall 2020. Troy Shantz

Troy Shantz

It’s a new position and a new chapter for Kennedy Dietz.

The 17-year-old Sarnia fastball prospect is headed to Shawnee State University in 2020 after verbally committing to play at the Ohio school.

Her play on the field earned the Northern Collegiate student an 85% scholarship.

“Everything is coming full circle… all these years are paying off,” Dietz said. “It’s always been a goal for me to further my softball career.”

Deitz is a pitcher with the Michigan Bulldogs, but she’ll play second base at Shawnee, a sharp departure from her regular spot on the mound, she said.

She’ll lose the pressure pitchers carry on game days while she settles into a new school, city and country, she said. And not pitching will give her a spot in the batting order, an opportunity she relishes after a personal-best three home runs this season.

There’s also a chance she could be used in relief, she said, noting her toolbox of six pitches will come in handy.

Last month Dietz finished her fifth season of playing baseball in Michigan. She started with the Bulldogs in 2014 and has pitched for the Flint Krossfire and Michigan Bat Busters since – all elite tournament teams.

Bulldogs coach Mike Ray and his knack for getting players into the university system drew her back, said father Todd Dietz.

This season, Dietz pitched for the U16 and U18 Bulldogs, which saw her start in multiple games daily in 13 tournaments, she said.

She admits she was apprehensive about playing with U18 players at first, many of whom were home for the summer after playing at university. But she excelled, smacking two of her homers playing alongside her elders.

“It was just kind of a moment of, ‘OK, maybe I can actually play 18U.’”

Dietz, who practices with the Bulldogs twice a week during the season, is the only Canadian in the organization.

“They make fun of how I pronounce some of my vowels,” she said, laughing.

“They just call her ‘Canada’,” her father added.

Dietz hopes to eventually earn a science degree with the goal of becoming a math teacher, she said.