Connor Hehn wasn’t sure he would ever pitch again after tearing his UCL during baseball practice two years ago as a sophomore.
The North Shore pitcher had a long road back after Tommy John surgery sidelined him for a season, but he returned as a junior and led his team to the county finals last year.
A No. 1 starter this season as a senior, Hehn went 4-0 with a 1.26 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 38 innings, and helped his team reach the county semifinals.
Hehn, also an academic standout with a 95 GPA, was recognized with the Michael Capozzi Award at the county’s awards dinner Wednesday at the Long Island Marriott in Uniondale. The Capozzi Award, which includes a $1,000 scholarship, is presented to a graduating senior who demonstrates excellence in academics, community service and baseball.
“It means a lot because it shows that my hard work and dedication paid off,” Hehn said.
“It was pretty heartbreaking because baseball is the game I love and it always has been,” Hehn said about his injury. “It was tough. The rehab wasn’t easy. I was working out countless hours. It tested me physically and mentally.”
Outside of baseball, Hehn said he is the National Honor Society treasurer and a member of both the Mathletes and ski club. He said he will study engineering at Binghamton next year and added that he is analytical whether solving math problems in physics, his favorite subject, or striking out batters with a well-placed changeup.
North Shore coach Scott Lineman said Hehn is a smart and composed pitcher that keeps batters off balance. He added that Hehn is a role model on the field and in the classroom.
“It’s a testament to his calm demeanor, his baseball intelligence and his hard work,” Lineman said. “Even when things weren’t going right on the mound, he battled through adversity. He’s a big time pitcher and one of the main reasons for our success the past few years. He’s just a quality kid with great character.”