Newfane senior earns baseball and academics scholarship to attend Ohio Christian university.
By John D'Onofrio Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
Josh Kneeland’s favorite memory as a Newfane Panthers baseball player has nothing to do with his four years as an outstanding pitcher and player, but has everything to do with his family friends that mean so much to him.
Kneeland, one of the Blue Zone’s best and brightest, signed a National Letter of Intent recently to attend Cedarville University in Ohio next fall on a baseball and academics scholarship.
Josh, the son of Jeff and April Kneeland, said he chose Cedarville — located near Columbus — for several reasons, including the fact that his two older brothers, Stephen and Scott, are attending the Christian school, rated 22nd among the top 100 Baccalaureate Colleges in America.
“I liked it a lot when I visited both my brothers there,” Josh said. “I really enjoyed the campus and the atmosphere. It’s a nice christian college with an impressive baseball program. Two players from the team last year got drafted pro.”
Kneeland, a high 90s honor student at Newfane, will major in graphics design at the University, while playing baseball for head coach Mike Manes’ Yellow Jackets.
“He saw me pitch in the summe and I talked to him about the program,” Josh said.
Kneeland, a reliable Panthers baseball player for four years under head coach Jeff Kneeland, his dad, hurled his way to a 5-1 record last spring with 81 strikeouts in 41 innings pitched in the Niagara-Orleans League, while the Panthers finished 7-7.
“I really enjoyed all the younger kids coming in last year. It was a fun time,” he said, adding that his best pitch is his curveball, which sets up his fastball.
“It’s been a pretty cool experience having my dad as a coach and a fan. I’ve always enjoyed it.”
One of Josh’s most treasured memories as a Newfane baseball player is his freshman season, when he played varsity on a team that featured both his older brothers and close family friend Rohn Pierce.
“That was a cool experience — having the opportunity to play with both of my brothers and Rohn. We won the league championship that year and went pretty far in sectionals.”
Besides his two older brothers, Josh has a younger sister, Katie, a sophomore softball player at Newfane.
Josh said he wants to be remembered as an athlete who tried his hardest.
“I want to be remembered as a good sport about everything and someone who would give it his best whether the game was going his way or not,” Josh said.
“Besides my dad and teammates, I want to thank my mom and my family for coming out to support me all these years watching my games.”