Rick’s Sports Corner: Connor Cafferty, Two-Sport Star, Brainy, Athletic

A baseball and basketball player, the senior helped the Pioneers reach the CIF Division VI baseball playoffs and will attend L.A. Mission College where he will play baseball and major in Kinesiology.

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By Rick Assad

If your last name is Cafferty and you attend a Burbank-area high school, you’re likely going to play sports.

Connor Cafferty fits this description and just graduated from Providence High where he posted a .3.95 grade-point average, played varsity baseball four years and basketball four years, two on the varsity.

Cafferty will continue his education and athletic career at Los Angeles Mission College where he will major in Kinesiology and play baseball.

“Jimmy and Samantha are actually not my siblings, they are my cousins. My sister is Skylar, and she plays varsity basketball at Burroughs,” he said. “I chose Providence because of the amazing culture and high academic standards.”

Cafferty pitched and played left field and was one of the team leaders.

Jimmy Cafferty just graduated from Burbank High and was a standout pitcher/first baseman while Samantha just finished her sophomore campaign and played second baseman and pitched for the Bulldogs.

“I remember meeting Coach Mando Contreras for the first time and thinking this is the coach I want to play for,” Cafferty said. “His love and passion for the game is unmatched and I couldn’t have asked for a better coach these past four years.”

Cafferty, who had a .300 career batting average and hit .280 as a senior was a scholar-athlete in which he posted a 4.0 GPA as a senior, junior and sophomore, knows before you step onto the field, it’s going to be a challenge and that there will be many trying moments.

“I actually think baseball is more like 95 percent mental and five percent physical. Baseball is a game of failure and being mentally tough is by far the most important part of the game,” he maintains. “Making an error on the field or striking out at the plate can’t cause you to think differently. Head up. Positive attitude. Be ready and move on to the next play. I’ve had this mentality throughout my baseball career, and I think it’s the reason I’ve been able to flourish as a player.”

Connor Cafferty (in the middle) with his baseball teammates at Providence High. (Photo by Austin Gebhardt)

Cafferty, a six-foot, 180-pounder won the coveted Paul Sutton Athletic Department Award, which is the highest athletic award given to one senior male and female athlete.

Cafferty is especially proud of this honor, and rightly so.

“Recipients of the award have competed in a sport for Providence, will be attending college and have demonstrated commitment, loyalty, and dedication to the Athletic Department,” he said. “Recipients’ names will be engraved on a plaque that hangs in the Student Activity Center lobby and will receive a certificate and $1,000 for college expenses. The Sutton family has graciously donated these funds to honor his legacy.”

Getting an early jump with respect to baseball has been one reason Cafferty has flourished in the sport.

“I have been playing baseball since I was three and I think I was successful on the diamond due to my dedication and work ethic but most importantly having a positive attitude towards everything,” he said.

Any time Cafferty walks onto a diamond or the hardwood where he was a guard and where he was tabbed Prep League second team as a senior, he’s going to enjoy himself and always give everything he has.

“Going out and competing every game with my teammates is what makes baseball fun for me,” he said. “Winning is fun and every game I step on the field, the only thing I’m thinking about is how I can help my team win.”

Giving your best every game and realizing the odds are always stacked against you, but keeping a strong focus and being sturdy, can change the narrative of a performance.

“I approach each game with focus and confidence,” Cafferty said. “I don’t have any specific routine that I do but once I step on the field I am locked in and ready to win a ballgame.”

On the mound Cafferty, who posted a 2.80 career earned-run average and a 3.50 ERA as a senior and except for two outings, against Campbell Hall and Loyola, the ERA would have been 1.80, has been one of the best players on the Providence baseball team and is a stand-up guy.

“Being a captain my senior year was important to me, and I did it with pride,” he said. “I was there to guide my teammates, hold them accountable on and off the field, and create a winning culture within our team. I enjoyed every second of being a leader and I’m proud to be able to take these leadership skills I gained with me to Mission College.”

Beside playing baseball, Connor Cafferty (on the right) was a basketball guard for the Pioneers. (Photo by Austin Gebhardt)

Though the overall record was slightly below .500 at 11-12 and 6-6 in league for third place, it was still something the Pioneers should be proud of.

On a personal note, Cafferty, who when facing Prep League teams had a 1.90 ERA across his career and a 1.30 ERA this season, spoke about what he thinks is his most outstanding outing which happened in a CIF Southern Section Division VI game.

“The best game by far was my senior year when we won a wild card playoff game,” he said. “We beat St Monica 7-2 and I pitched seven innings and gave up seven hits, two earned runs, with no walks and three strikeouts. It was the first time Providence baseball made the playoffs since 2017. Me hugging my catcher, one of my best friends, senior Matthew Dorfman, after the last pitch of the game which was an 0-2 low and away curveball that resulted in a swing and miss, was a moment I’ll never forget.”

Having been in the arena and the diamond, Cafferty, who was a league first-team selection as a junior and a league second-team pick as a senior and each season was the team’s Cy Young winner, has a bit of knowledge he is willing to depart.

“My advice to an incoming freshman who wants to play baseball is to be coachable and be open to new things,” he said. “Obviously, you want to work on the fundamentals and have a good work ethic but being coachable is huge. Most importantly, have fun and enjoy the experience.”

As an outgoing senior, Cafferty will not get another opportunity to play at the high school level.

“The brotherhood part and the relationships I made with my teammates and coaches is what I’m going to miss the most,” he said. “The little things like the van rides to the games, going out to eat with the team, and just having genuine conversations with Coach Contreras are things I’m going to miss.”

Contreras couldn’t be more pleased with Cafferty’s time at Providence.

Connor Cafferty was a standout pitcher for the Pioneers and the Paul Sutton Award winner this past season. (Photo by Austin Gebhardt)

“Connor is a focused, gritty student-athlete. He is so natural in doing things well the first time,” he said. “He pushed his teammates to be smart, to learn the game, and to get involved in the game. He didn’t miss a pitch, he stood in the dugout watching the game as a coach, as a leader, and had fun playing. His energy was infectious. I’m so thankful that he was on our team.”

The past memories created and made over four years, however, are something Cafferty can take with him, and they don’t fade.

“Playing baseball at Providence was an unreal experience and I was so blessed to be a part of something so amazing,” he said. “We will forever be family. The development of players due to Coach Contreras’ hard work, day in and day out was really special to see. The turnaround of the program and the winning culture that was created over the years was so fun to be a part of. We achieved so many of the goals we set when I came in as a freshman. The program is in great hands, and I’m thrilled to see what they do in the coming years.”

For four years, Providence’s baseball and basketball teams were in capable hands with Cafferty leading the charge.