Persistence on the baseball field helped Pat Donnelly become an all-star caliber player.
It was that same type of effort in the classroom that earned the Liberty High School senior acceptance into Lehigh University.
Donnelly passed the academic requirements by improving his SAT scores and recently made a verbal commitment to continue his career at the Patriot League school.
“I talked to (Lehigh) coach (Sean) Leary a couple months ago about going there and he was all for it,” said Donnelly, who plays shortstop and is also a starting guard on the basketball team. “But they wanted me to take my SATs again.”
Donnelly spent time studying with a tutor and re-took the test on Oct. 6.
“Three weeks later the scores got released,” Donnelly said. “I went online and found out that I’d met the requirements. I emailed coach Leary and he shot me an email right back. He talked to admissions the next day and everything was a ‘go.'”
Donnelly was an Express-Times All-Area First team pick last season and a first team all-state selection by the Pennsylvania High School Baseball Coaches Association.
He batted .488 for the Hurricanes with two home runs, 31 runs, 30 RBIs and 19 stolen bases. He was charged with just one error in 15 games at shortstop.
Donnelly also played an integral role in Bath’s run to a second place finish in the Region 2 American Legion Baseball Tournament this past summer in West Lawn, Pa.
“I think Pat made an excellent decision,” Liberty coach Andy Pitsilos said. “He’s a smart kid and a real good baseball player. I think he’ll help them a great deal.”
Donnelly chose Lehigh over Monmouth and Old Dominion.
“I pretty much wanted to go to Lehigh the whole way,” Donnelly said. “My mom went there and my sister (Caitlin Donnelly) played field hockey there for four years.”
Donnelly feels relieved to get his decision over with.
“With baseball being a spring sport, it would have been pretty late in my senior year,” he said. “Now I’ve got the burden off my chest. I’m free to go now.”