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Southold’s Brendan Duffy plans to play baseball for Oneonta State

Talk about instant impact.

Brendan Duffy was much more than a promising prospect when he was an eighth-grader on the Southold High School baseball team. The varsity newbie was already one of the team’s top two players.

It was at a prospect camp at Oneonta State this past summer, though, when Duffy thought that it would be nice to play for the NCAA Division III Red Dragons. The Southold senior made his decision public last Wednesday with a verbal commitment in a ceremony at his high school.

“They had a great program going and the coach was great communicating with me, so I just thought it would be a great fit for those reasons,” Duffy said. “After I was looking around campus, I knew that was where I wanted to be.”

Duffy said he will go to Oneonta State as an outfielder, but has been told he will also be given an opportunity to pitch.

Duffy plays centerfield and is Southold’s top pitcher. He plays as a corner outfielder for his club team, the East Coast Lumberjacks.

“He’s been our rock on the team since he was in eighth grade,” said Southold coach Greg Tulley.

Duffy was one of four eighth-graders on an extraordinarily young Southold team in 2018. The impact he made on the First Settlers was immediate. He had a .351 batting average, drove in 17 runs and put up a 2.39 ERA in 38 innings of work as an eighth-grader. The following season he hit .350 with 14 RBIs and two home runs. Duffy’s sophomore season was lost to the COVID-19 pandemic, but he came back strong this past spring, with a team-leading .440 batting average, 28 RBIs and five homers. As a pitcher with a fastball, changeup, curveball and good location, the righthander had a 3.36 ERA, with 54 strikeouts and 14 walks over 35 2/3 innings to help him earn All-County status.

“He was our go-to pitcher,” Tulley said. “He wanted the ball in the big spots. He didn’t want to be taken out of games. He’s the best guy we’ve had for years.”

For his high school career, Duffy has a .378/.640/.519 slash line, seven homers and 59 RBIs. Twenty-five of his 62 hits in a Southold uniform have been for extra bases.

Tulley said the strongest part of Duffy’s game is his offense. Duffy, who batted second in the order last season, said, “I’ve got plenty of power and I’m pretty consistent, too.”

And what about his defensive abilities in the outfield?

“If it’s hit to center,” Tulley said, “I know it’s going to be caught, and he’s probably got the best arm in the league.”

Duffy’s road to college ball has no shortcuts. He works on his game year-round. “It never stops,” he said. He credits his parents, Tom and Catherine (who along with his sister Kaitlyn attended last Wednesday’s ceremony) for taking him to games, practices and lessons. “They’ve always been there for me,” he said.

Tulley knows that Duffy has put in the time.

“I’m proud of him,” the coach said. “I know he’s worked hard for it over five years. I mean, Brendan, he has never missed a workout in five years. And he’s a kid that works beyond practice, too. I know he goes home and hits off a tee all the time.”

“It’s always been a dream of mine, but this past summer I just realized that I could do it,” Duffy said of playing collegiately.

Does having made his college choice take some pressure off Duffy as he prepares for his final high school season this coming spring?

“Not really because I would like to leave on a successful season,” he said. “Honestly, my goal is to win counties this year, and that’s my goal for the team, and if I can leave with that, that would be great.”

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