From Cape Town to Cleveland
When the family of Going to Bat Co-Founder Kieran Lovegrove moved to California in 1999 to provide their two children with better opportunities, Kieran had never seen a baseball glove or held a baseball in his hands. After all, his native South Africa was the land of cricket and rugby. The hours of bashing a ball with a plastic cricket bat on the snow white beaches of Camps Bay paid off and he quickly adopted baseball as his new passion. But it was not with the bat that he would make his mark. It quickly became apparent that he had a special arm and the mound became his comfort zone.
After three years in El Segundo, CA the family moved to Mission Viejo in Orange County, CA He was a member of the Saddleback Coyotes Baseball Team that won the 2005 National Cooperstown Tournament of Champions (Oneonta, NY), where he also won the shortstop skills competition. Kieran pitched on the Mission Viejo High School (Mission Viejo, CA) baseball team. In addition to baseball, Kieran was also an All Star soccer player (goalie) and played football.
Kieran represented Southern California on the 14U team at the 2009 California Cup in Manteca, CA. His 85 mph pitch lead to him being crowned the 14U "Golden Arm" Champion. He was again selected to represent Southern California on the 15U and 17u teams competing in the 2009 and 2010 NTIS in Cary, North Carolina. This led to selection for the USA 16U Trials Team in 2010 and the USA 18U Trials Team in 2012.
At the tryouts for the 17U NTIS, Kieran caught the eye of Mike Spiers and his baseball career really took flight. He joined the ABD Bulldogs and began competing against much higher caliber players. He was named as an Under Armour Pre-Season All American in 2011 and invited to the Perfect Game National Showcase. He pitched the Bulldogs to win in the Don Mattingly 17U World Series Champions in Tempe, AZ. Kieran was also selected for the Milwaukee Brewers Area Code team and earned a athletic scholarship to attend Arizona State University.
Accolades kept coming in 2012 as he was named Rawlings® Preseason All-American and Rawlings® Preseason California Senior 1st Team 2012. For his high school he was voted Most Outstanding Pitcher and named All Sea View League MVP. He was also selected to the All Orange County First team.
Kieran was also selected to represent his native South Africa in the 2012 World Baseball Classic Qualifier tournament where he will compete against the national teams of Spain, France and Israel.
The ultimate accolade came on June 5, 2012 when Kieran was drafted by the Cleveland Indians as the 110th pick (3rd Round) of the MLB First Year Player Draft.
The Cleveland Indians are a professional baseball team based in Cleveland, Ohio. They are in the Central Division of Major League Baseball's American League. Since 1994, they have played in Progressive Field (formerly Jacobs Field). The team's spring training facility is at Goodyear Ballpark in Goodyear, Arizona. Since their establishment as a Major League franchise in 1901, the Indians have won two World Series championships, in 1920 and 1948.