Hawks’ Kirn earns chance to pitch against college baseball’s best in Cape Cod League

Griffin Kirn

Griffin Kirn, a senior left-handed pitcher for the Quincy University baseball team and a Quincy Notre Dame graduate, will finish the summer pitching in the prestigious Cape Cod League. | Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — Griffin Kirn happened to be enjoying a relaxing midsummer afternoon when Quincy University baseball coach Matt Schissel unexpectedly called.

“I figured it was to check in and see how my summer was going,” said Kirn, a 6-foot-3, 225-pound senior left-handed pitcher.

There was a little more to this call.

Schissel had been contacted by the Harwich Mariners of the Cape Cod League in their search for bullpen help, which led to Kirn receiving an offer to pitch in what is considered the top summer collegiate baseball league.

“It’s the Cape,” Kirn said. “It’s kind of hard to pass up on that.”

Everyone around him said the same thing.

“I talked to some of my trainers and they were like, ‘You should do everything you can to go out there,’” Kirn said.

So, after throwing a bullpen session Friday with his trainers at Premier Pitching and Performance in St. Louis, Kirn will travel to Massachusetts and spend the remainder of the Cape season working out of the Harwich bullpen.

The Mariners currently sit in third place in the Cape’s East Division with 18 games remaining in the regular season. The top two teams in each division advance to the playoffs, which are best-of-3 series. Harwich also is playing host to the Cape All-Star Game on July 22.

“It really is an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” said Kirn, the Quincy Notre Dame graduate who will become the first QU product to play in the prestigious league.

In the 2023 MLB First-Year Player Draft, 219 of the 617 players selected were current or former Cape Cod League participants, including the No. 1 overall selection in LSU’s Paul Skenes. Five of the last six No. 1 picks played in the Cape.

“This league shows you how good you really are, and it’s an opportunity to test yourself,” Kirn said.

Kirn wants to see how his stuff stacks up. Last spring, the southpaw went 7-2 in 15 starts with a 5.91 ERA over 70 innings. He struck out 96 and walked 33 with opponents hitting .268 against him. He struck out a career-high 13 against Missouri-St. Louis and mowed down 10 against McKendree — both were victories.

Although he hasn’t pitched in a league this summer, he’s been working on a new changeup and increasing his velocity in preparation to be the Hawks’ ace next season.

Pitching in the Cape will show how much progress he’s made.

“I want to command my new changeup and get good outs with it — strikeouts, rollovers, whatever that is,” Kirn said. “I’m in a velo phase, so I’d like to see my velo up. At the end of the day, I want to get these D-I guys out and show that I’m good enough.”

He’s confident he will do so.

“After this, I’ll be able to say I faced the best and hopefully I’m able to get outs,” Kirn said. “I’m able to get outs in the GLVC, but hopefully that will be a little easier in the future if I keep working like this.”

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