By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
If things keep going his way, former Celt Chad Fahey might become the stuff nightmares are made of in college baseball.
In recent weeks, Fahey pitched a pair of complete game shut-outs for the Pacific University Boxers. The first came in a March 11, 3-0 victory over George Fox in which Fahey allowed six hits and one walk while striking out six. That performance earned the transfer from Chemeketa Community College his first Northwest Conference (NWC) Pitcher Student-Athlete of the Week selection of the season.
He claimed his second shut-out, and a second NWC award with a 2-0 shut-out of Lewis & Clark. He allowed a stingy six hits and struck out 11 batters.
The 2008 McNary High School graduate credits the Boxer coaching staff with his progress on the mound.
“This year, we have new assistant coaches in Matt Dailey and Dan Wolf, and we’ve just been able to spend more time individually with coaches,” Fahey said.
Fahey is in his second year with the Boxers after transferring from Chemeketa upon completion of his sophomore year.
“It was a big step going into the NWAAC. The league is a really strong league and the game picked up pretty fast, but we had a coach who coached to that speed. It was a little easier than going somewhere else,” he said.
Fahey spent more time in the field than on the mound, but the transfer afforded him the opportunity to spend more time with the pitchers and he found a new level of success. He closed out his junior year and was named to the second team all-conference as a pitcher.
That isn’t to suggest Fahey has lost any of his skill at the plate. In addition to taking the steam out of opponent’s sticks, Fahey’s has ignited. Playing as the Boxers’ starting left fielder in both ends of a doubleheader with Lewis & Clark, Fahey hit .714 with five hits, three runs and three runs batted in. He pounded out a .714 slugging percentage and a .750 on-base percentage. He leads the team with a .471 batting average with 16 hits in 34 at bats.
The team is currently tied for second in the Northwest Conference.
“We’ve developed as smarter hitters and better hitters when we have guys on,” Fahey said. “This year has been a real stride forward.”
The business major is in his last year of eligibility for college ball, but he’s mulling over the possibility of continuing his baseball career in the Canada Western Major League. If he accepts, chances are he’ll face or possibly play alongside another former Celtic, Jordan Keeker, who will play for the Saskatchewan Swift Current this summer.
“It’s every player’s dream to get looks,” Fahey said. “I would love to, that’s why you grow up playing baseball and work hard. I’m not worried about it right now, but it would be awesome.”
Fahey said he still draws upon the lessons learned while a member of the McNary squad.
“We always worked hard looking for the things we could do to get better. We’re weren’t sitting around waiting to be told what needed to happen,” he said. “I still have that mentality.”
Fahey will take the mound in Salem Sunday, April 1, at Willamette University at 1 p.m. Fans and friends can catch him in the field and at the plate during a double header with the Bearcats Saturday, March 31, beginning at noon.