When Fenwick baseball coach Dave Hogan bestowed a nickname on Kevin Claffy at the end of last season, the senior second baseman thought it fit him perfectly.
“Coach gave me the nickname Kevin ‘I’ve never had a bad day in my life’ Claffy. I’m always trying to pick everybody up on my team and keep everyone positive,” Claffy said. “Life is more fun being happy, so I try to keep that attitude.”
Hogan appreciates the levity Claffy brings to the field every day.
“He always has a smile on his face,” Hogan said. “He’s pretty carefree and keeps the team real loose. He takes things seriously, but he knows no matter what happens the sun will come out tomorrow. He’s a real positive, vocal leader.”
The cheerful disposition is far from Claffy’s only contributions this season.
After a torrid weekend at the plate, he upped his average to .500 (11-for-22) following a 9-7 extra-inning win over Loyola.
“He’s always been a good athlete, but he had to figure out, ‘Yeah, I can compete at a certain level,’ ” Hogan said. “He has a good work ethic and put in a lot of time in the offseason working on it to bring his play up to the level it’s at right now. He’s carrying a big stick for us and I expect him to contribute the rest of the season.”
Claffy, a Western Springs resident, went 4-for-5 with two doubles and three RBI in the win over the Ramblers, which was Hogan’s 700th career win.
Despite his hitting heroics, Claffy is always reluctant to talk about individual accolades, preferring the team-first mentality.
“We have a good starting lineup and great players all around me,” said Claffy, who would like to shore up his defense at second base. “We all work well together.
Baseball is a team sport and I can’t do anything without my guys. It’s nice to be part of a team like this.”
Claffy is also a member of Fenwick’s bass fishing team this spring. He was a backup quarterback on the football team as well, but there’s no doubt where his passion lies.
“I grew up playing Little League in Western Springs and just kept playing into high school,” Claffy said. “Baseball is my favorite sport and I just love playing the game.”