Sports Person of the Week
Finnegan’s Professional Approach Helps Chargers Go Perfect
Jack Finnegan played shortstop for the John Winthrop Middle School baseball team and helped the Chargers turn in an undefeated season. Jack batted throughout the lineup and was always willing to do whatever the Chargers needed to help them get a win. (Photo courtesy of John Finnegan )
Jack Finnegan had a heavy hand in helping the John Winthrop Middle School baseball team put together an undefeated season this year. Jack and the Chargers won all 13 of their games after taking just one loss during 2018 campaign. Jack played shortstop and batted in several different spots in the team’s lineup, including a stint in the leadoff hole. After graduating from Winthrop, Jack is ready to attend Valley Regional High School, where he will play baseball and soccer.
Jack and his teammates were ecstatic after the Chargers finished their perfect campaign. Winthrop came up just one victory shy of going undefeated last season, and so completing that feat one year later was a moment that Jack and company will never forget.
“We were all really excited. We had lost one game last year, so we were really determined to go undefeated this year,” Jack says. “When we won that last game, we were so happy to have the undefeated season. To see the undefeated banner go up in the gym was something that we were all really proud of.”
Jack prides himself on his steady play at shortstop, and he’s put in a lot of practice to become so sure-handed at the position. Jack can also can play second base or jump on the mound and pitch. Jack wants to improve his pop at the plate by working just as hard as he did to become proficient in the field.
“I’ve always loved defense and have worked really hard at it. It’s been one of my strengths,” says Jack, who lives in Essex. “I also try to work hard at hitting, too. I’ve got to work on my strength and conditioning in the offseason, so I can contribute more on the offensive side next year.”
Jack is a big believer that success begins at practice. By practicing as if he was playing in a normal game, Jack is always in a game-time mindset every time he steps on the field.
“I just try to work hard and do everything I’m supposed to. I practice like I play in games,” Jack says. “What you do at practice translates into your game. If you’re doing things right in practice, you’ll do them right in a game.”
Jack’s approach in the batter’s box is to get on base and keep the line moving. Jack began this year at the top of the lineup, then got moved around a bit as the season went on. Jack had no issues hitting wherever Head Coach Jason Foor needed him in the batting order.
“I’m more of a contact hitter. I don’t have much power, so I try to put the ball in play and hope it gets through for a hit and move the runners. Anything that helps the team is good,” says Jack. “I was hitting leadoff because I’m fast. Then Coach Foor moved us around a little to try other kids at leadoff. I never really cared too much about where I hit in the lineup.”
Coach Foor appreciates the way Jack went about his business as a member of his team. Foor says that Jack is a valuable player who brought great maturity to the field and did whatever the Chargers needed at any given time.
“I feel that Jack brought confidence, and he’s a very smart, heady baseball player. He brought a level of professionalism with him to play the game the right way,” says Coach Foor. “He was a vocal leader, yes, but he led more through his actions. The way he carried himself was well beyond his years. He was willing to do whatever we asked of him and whatever he felt he needed to do to help the team win. He was the definition of a team player.”
Jack is looking forward to joining a Valley Regional baseball team that features several of his current and former teammates. Jack wants to experience just as much success with the Warriors as he did with the John Winthrop team this year.
“I’m excited to play at Valley. I’m a little nervous, but I’m excited. It’ll be pretty cool to play with them again, especially because of the work we’ve all put in,” says Jack, who thanks Coach Foor, assistant coach Brett Calamaro, and his travel baseball coach Wendell Anderson. “We have a unique situation where a lot of kids in our grades love baseball so much. We all play travel baseball all-year round, and we’ve played together for five or six years. To get recognition for our play is pretty cool.”