PawSox pitcher 'proud to be from Barrington'

Trevor Kelley: 'I had so much fun growing up here'

By Josh Bickford
Posted 9/4/19

Baseball brought Trevor Kelley back to Barrington.

Kelley grew up in Barrington and attended Primrose Hill School, but his family left town when he was in the third grade. 

Late last …

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PawSox pitcher 'proud to be from Barrington'

Trevor Kelley: 'I had so much fun growing up here'

Posted

Baseball brought Trevor Kelley back to Barrington.

Kelley grew up in Barrington and attended Primrose Hill School, but his family left town when he was in the third grade. 

Late last season, however, Kelley returned to the Ocean State — this time as a member of the Pawtucket Red Sox pitching staff. 

"Having it come full circle for me, to come back to McCoy is just unbelievable. I came up here for the first time last year. I just thought it was the coolest thing," he said.

Kelley has enjoyed a strong 2019 season with the PawSox — the hard-throwing right-handed pitcher is 5-5 with a 1.82 ERA; he has appeared in 51 games, striking out 62 batters and allowing just 21 walks. 

Kelley said he has enjoyed his time playing baseball in Pawtucket — he can remember the days when he was just a kid and his family would visit McCoy to watch the PawSox. He and his brothers, and countless other youngsters, would congregate in the grassy area just beyond the left field fence and holler to players, begging for a baseball.

Now, he said, he is one of the guys in uniform listening to the young fans call out to him.

"When I tell you it's full circle, it's full circle. You name it, I did it as a kid here. It's a really special place for me. I feel very comfortable playing here. It's home," he said.

Kelley grew up in Barrington in a neighborhood close to Primrose Hill School. He and his friends would spend their days playing baseball, Wiffleball, football and street hockey.

"We did it all," he said. "In Barrington you can just hop over to the next neighborhood. At school, I remember us kind of getting a backyard baseball league put together. We had like five or six kids on each team. We'd have a designated street or backyard to play in. We did that with street hockey too. Oh my God, I had so much fun growing up here."

Kelley can remember one of his neighbors — the Hughes family — used their backyard for games: "He cut out the lines for base paths in his backyard," said Kelley.

Sports were all about having fun in those days.

"We did it all and it was a lot of fun. And that's why I feel so comfortable playing here, it brings back so much. That's when I was a real kid," he said.

Mid-way through his third grade year, Kelley and his family relocated to Wilmington, N.C. 

"I didn't want to do it at first. I remember walking home from school and seeing a for sale sign, and your heart just sinks," Kelley said.

"I remember getting there (to Wilmington) and our dad took us out and the first stop was at our Little League field," he said. "And I remember in Barrington we didn't have fences (on the ball fields) … And we get there and they had the yellow pipe along the top of the fence and we were like "Oh my God!" We were trying to rob each other's home runs and stuff."

Kelley's focus on athletics blossomed in North Carolina. A family friend worked with Trevor and his twin brother, throwing batting practice and honing his pitching skills.

"You can play every day of the year down there. I wouldn't say it's more competitive, it's just different. It's different everywhere you go," he said. 

"The opportunities that I was able to make in Wilmington were ultimately what helped me get to college and ultimately got me here."

Kelley starred in baseball and football in high school. The one-time Barrington Pop Warner and Barrington Little League player excelled on the playing fields of North Carolina.

"I kinda learned how to hit here," Kelley said, referring to his football skills. "My twin brother, he didn't play here. But we both played in North Carolina. We were on a really good football team there. We were a big part of it. I like to think I learned how to hit here (in Barrington). In high school, I like to say I was pretty good."

Kelley was the starting middle linebacker and backup quarterback for his high school football team — and he loved football. Baseball was great fun too.

He played shortstop during his freshman year, and started pitching as a sophomore.

"Overnight I got the bug and started throwing. It was the weirdest thing. It was just one week I started throwing bullpen after bullpen. I was like, I feel good, I want to get on the mound again," he said. 

"Two ticks up every day until I got to a game and I was throwing 95 (mph) then. I signed with North Carolina. I was very blessed."

In 2015, the Boston Red Sox drafted Kelley. He spent that year playing rookie level and single A, and by 2017 he was playing AA baseball in Portland, Maine. He started 2018 in Portland and finished the year in Pawtucket. He has three times been selected as an All-Star, and recently received the Sullivan Tire PawSox Community Spirit Award.

Kelley said much of his recent success can be traced to his early days where his love for sports began. He can still remember playing Little League baseball in Barrington.

"My dad coached all my teams growing up. I remember playing (Little League) a year earlier than I was supposed to. They brought me up, but then they sent me down because I was too young. I don't know why, because I was always bigger than most kids," Kelley said. "I was like the best kid on the team. It happened to three of my friends as well. So we all go down to T-ball and get on the same team and we just, oh, we just killed everyone."

Kelley said he remembers those early days of baseball very fondly, and urges today's Little Leaguers to have fun with the game as long as possible.

"Have fun with it (baseball) as long as you can, because one day it will come to an end. Just the pure fun of playing every day. Now it's fun, it's fun competing out there, but it's a job now and it gets really stressful sometimes. When you're not in a good groove, it becomes a job. You treat it like a game and it flies by," he said.

"My advice is just have fun and stay young with it as long as you can. Play Wiffleball."

Kelley said he and his wife have been living in town with his aunt and uncle while he's been up with the PawSox. He said he has truly enjoyed the opportunity to revisit his hometown, driving by the house where he grew up and bumping into his old neighbors and former coaches.

"I ran into my Barrington Pop Warner coach at Dunkin. It's always at Dunkin. In Barrington. Me and my wife were talking about it two days ago, 'Who are we going to run into today?'" he joked.

"Everyone who knows me, they know who they are. I always think of them often. And everything my family, my aunt and uncle do for me, I can't thank them enough.

"I call Barrington home … I'm proud to be from Barrington and from Rhode Island, and I'll always carry that with me."

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