2014 Slippery Rock graduate Will Kengor was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 28th round of the 2014 MLB Draft on Saturday.
“It’s a childhood dream come true,” Kengor said. “I’m excited to begin my future with baseball.”
Kengor, who was drafted 850th overall, had a career filled with awards and several other honors at Slippery Rock, but his road to becoming a dominant Division II baseball player, and arguably the best all-around player in the PSAC, has been a long one.
Kengor was cut from his high school baseball team at Central Catholic his freshman year, causing him to throw away almost everything that he owned that had to do with baseball. He promised himself that he would never touch that stuff again. However, Kengor decided he couldn’t simply just walk away from his favorite sport. He practiced that entire summer and he was able to earn a varsity roster spot his sophomore year. His junior year at Central Catholic he was able to lead his team in hitting with a .442 batting average.
After his junior year, Kengor signed a letter of intent to play baseball at Duquesne University, but midway through his senior year Duquesne’s head coach called him and told him that their baseball program had been cut.
“I started to freak out a little bit,” Kengor said. “Luckily, one of my coaches from Central Catholic played at Slippery Rock and put me in contact with Coach Messer.”
Kengor visited SRU for the first time the summer following his senior year, and he immediately liked what he saw. After a tour, his parents convinced him that Slippery Rock was a perfect fit.
After starting just six games at shortstop his freshman year, Kengor came back and earned a role as the everyday starting shortstop. That season, he had a .336 batting average, 31 RBIs, and that was just a preview of what was to come. In his junior year, Kengor exploded with a .448 batting average and led the PSAC with 77 hits. His impressive numbers were enough to earn him All-American honors, as well an invitation to the Cal Ripken Summer Baseball League. That summer, he had a .316 batting average to go along with five triples, 11 doubles, one homerun and 27 RBIs.
“I was just able to hit the ball really well that year,” Kengor said. “I hit a lot of hard line drives that were just able to get through.”
Kengor’s senior year was just as impressive. He posted a .415 batting average during the regular season with a total of 71 hits.
“Will has just gotten better every year,” SRU head coach Jeff Messer said. “He’s done everything possible here. Between his leadership as our captain and his attitude off the field he is certainly going to be missed greatly. We don’t exactly have a replacement for him because you just don’t have players come along like that very often.”
“I want to thank everyone who helped me get here,” Kengor said. “I couldn’t have done it without all of my teammates and the coaching staff at Slippery Rock, and my friends and family who have helped me every step of the way.”