By John Johnson, The Boston Globe South
BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -- Ryan Feeney is glad that he found baseball again. Feeney, who was raised in East Bridgewater, played baseball at Coyle & Cassidy High School before giving up the sport after his senior season in 2012. After umpiring and coaching at the youth level, Feeney got the urge to play again, and walked into the squad at Bridgewater State last season after a three-year hiatus.
Last year Feeney showed no signs of not having swung a bat in three seasons by leading the team with a .364 average. This year, he concluded his career by being named Most Valuable Player in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference. The senior shortstop, a first-team selection for the second straight season, batted .419 with 44 hits, 19 runs, seven doubles, three triples, a pair of home runs, and 24 runs batted in. He also posted a .600 slugging percentage and opened the season with a 16-game hitting streak. Feeney, a physical education major with an exercise science concentration, has been hired as an assistant baseball coach at St. Michael’s in Vermont.
Q. What are your thoughts about being named Player of the Year?
A. I was stoked when I heard the news. It is tangible evidence that I worked hard. It sank in when I added “MASCAC Player of the Year” to my job resume.
Q. What was the best aspect of graduation?
A. The best part would have to be the pageantry. BSU goes above and beyond to put on a special day for those graduating.
Q. What will you do now that you’ve graduated?
A. I have been fortunate enough to be hired as an assistant baseball coach by Jason Szafarski at Saint Michael’s College. We are going to build a winning culture up there. It is an unbelievable opportunity to join a young coaching staff building something special.
Q. What enabled you to have such a strong season at the plate?
A. A good friend of mine, Joe Abarr [Oliver Ames baseball coach] turned me on to the mental side of baseball. I focused on training my mental game as well as my physical game. I bought into the teachings of Brian Cain, a mental conditioning coach.
Q. You batted over .400. Will that achievement live with you the rest of your life?
A. Definitely, just basically because I was a guy who wasn’t recruited and didn’t play baseball for my first three years of college. I was just glad that Coach [Rick] Smith allowed me to be on the team after being away from the game for a while.
Q. Do you have a particular career achievement that you’ll remember?
A. What will stick with me throughout my life is the friendships and connections I have made as part of the BSU baseball program. From the coaches and faculty in the athletic building to my teammates, I really just enjoyed being around everyone. That will be the thing I miss the most.
Q. You had a strong defensive season as well. What is most important to be a successful shortstop?
A. Confidence and preparation. I always feel like if you are prepared then you were confident. It slows the game down. You also need good second baseman. Matt Levasseur [of Milton] was an awesome guy to play with.
Q. Is there a MLB player that you consider a role model?
A. I don’t really have an MLB player, but I was fortunate enough to have good friends that play high-level baseball. Working out and being around them shaped me into the player I became.
Q. If you could sit down for dinner with one person, who would that be?
A. That is a hard question to answer. It is way too hard to just pick one person. The way life is going where everyone is so busy, I would have to say my buddies. Also anyone willing to pay for my meal, I would sit down and eat with.
Q. Favorite movie?
A. Friday Night Lights. It’s an unbelievable story.