A love for baseball and a drive to get better pushed Colton Kenagy to be the hardest working player on and off the field.

The St. Joseph Mustangs pitcher fell in love with the sport at a young age thanks to his dad.

He went to a Royals game and enjoyed it so much his dad started coaching him.

“I couldn’t get enough of it,” Kenagy said. “He’d come home from long days at work and immediately he would offer to take me to the field.”

His dad coached him up until high school where he started playing for Kevin Bryan at East Buchanan.

“The thing about Colton is, he knew the game of baseball really well coming into high school,” Bryan said. “You could tell his instincts were very good. He knew the game of baseball — you didn’t have to talk about the nuances or anything like that. You just had to work on the fundamentals as far as getting bigger and stronger.”

As a freshman, Bryan said Kenagy worked hard in the weight room in order to battle seniors and juniors for a starting spot. Bryan said Kenagy was a great player on the mound and in the field for Bulldogs.

After high school, Kenagy played two years are Kansas City Kansas Community College before moving on to Keiser (Florida) University.

KCKCC was close to his hometown of Gower, but leaving for Kaiser gave Kenagy a chance to appreciate his hometown more when he came back.

“Being able to pitch in front of family and friends is always awesome,” Kenagy said. “After the game, I see someone every time who is there who I grew up with. It’s always awesome having that support.”

Bryan, though he only coaches football at East Buch now, still follows Kenagy’s career as it develops.

“I’m real good friends with the family, so I kept in contact with his dad about how he was doing doing at KCK. Also when he went down to Florida, I kind of kept in contact with them as far as what was going on and things like that,” Bryan said. “Seeing his progress is just outstanding because he’s a very, very nice kid, a very good character and one of those kids you just like to see find success.”

Kenagy was a senior at Keiser for the spring 2019 season where he finished with a 3.58 ERA.

The right-hander pitched a complete seven-inning game, allowing two hits in an 8-4 win over the Generals in his first MINK League outing of the season with the Mustangs on Thursday, June 6.

“I’m just so proud of him,” Bryan said. “He’s fought through some times when things weren’t going well, and he’s just continued to work at it and continue to get better. He’s a very good success story that I’m so proud of.”

With his college years behind him, Kenagy just wants to keep playing the sport he loves with a team he loves. The energy is similar to that of college baseball with the Mustangs, and Kenagy said that’s something he likes about playing in St. Joseph.

“It’s summer ball, so some guys are just going through the motions, and college is really high intensity, have-to-win-every-game stuff,” Kenagy said. “But, that’s kind of the same feel here because you could let down 4,000 people if you don’t win. It’s not the same, but it’s definitely more similar to college baseball than most summer teams would be.”

Most of all, Kenagy said he loved the atmosphere of playing for a team he grew up watching in high school, especially if this is the last season he gets to play baseball.

“It’s nice to kind of — if nothing happens this year — finish it back where it started, and it’s been a blessing for sure,” Kenagy said.

Amanda Sullivan can be reached at amanda.sullivan@newspressnow.com.

Follow him on Twitter: @NPNowSullivan