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Updated: March 9, 2020
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(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photo by Robert Bos)

Hoofddorp Pioniers-pitcher Paul Kirkpatrick to play for Bologna this season

BOLOGNA (Italy) - British/American righthanded pitcher Paul Kirkpatrick, who last season played in the Dutch big league for Hoofddorp Pioniers, will play for UnipolSai Fortitudo Bologna in Italy this year, the club confirmed on Monday, March 2. As he didn't leave the club in the transfer-period following last season, Kirkpatrick was a possibility to return to Pioniers this season.

Last season, Bologna captured the Italian Championship-title by sweeping T&A San Marino 3-0 in the best-of-five Italian Series. Earlier in the year, playing at its home--site, Bologna also won the European Champions Cup by winning 8-0 in the Final against L&D Amsterdam Pirates, which later in the year captured the Dutch Championship-title. This year, Bologna will participate in the European Champions Cup-tournament in Ostrava (Czech Republic).

...Paul Kirkpatrick pitching for Hoofddorp Pioniers...
...during the 2019 Play-Offs in the Netherlands...
(© Photo: Robert Bos)
The 23-year old Kirkpatrick was born in London (England) in 1996, but grew up in Austin, Texas (USA). The pitcher comes from a sportive family, as his mother played tennis, his grandfather played basketball and his sister was on the rowing team at San Diego State University. After attending Westlake High School in Texas (where he was 11-6), Kirkpatrick continued his career in college. In 2015, he played for the Demon Deacons, the baseball-team of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. There, he was 3-2 with a 6.61 ERA in twenty games (six starts) with 39 strikeouts and only 13 walks in 47 2/3 inning. In the following summer, Kirkpatrick played for Martinsville Mustangs in the Coastal Plain League (Summer League).

Next, in 2016, Kirkpatrick pitched for the Highlanders, the team of McLennan Community College in Waco, Texas. There, he was 4-3 with two saves and a 6.09 ERA in 12 games (8 starts) and struckout 33 batters in 44 1/3 inning. In the summer-months, he again played in the Coastal Plain League, this time for Savannah Bananas, with whom he won the championship-title.

Hereafter, he concluded his college-career at Western Kentucky University (Division I) in Bowling Green, Kentucky, pitching two seasons for the Hilltoppers. In his first season (2017), he was 2-9 with a 7.55 ERA, pitching in 14 games (all starts). The next season (2018), the righthander was 4-6 with a 5.68 ERA, again pitching in 14 games. In 28 games (27 starts) in these two seasons, Kirkpatrick struckout 92 batters in 133 2/3 inning and walked only 29. He gave up 178 basehits.

After finishing his college-career at Western Kentucky, Kirkpatrick traveled to Europe and in 2018, he went on to play for Stuttgart Reds, which plays in the Southern Division of the German 1.Bundesliga. He pitched in five games (all starts, two complete) for Stuttgart and was 2-3 with a 3.74 ERA, striking out 36 batters in 33 2/3 inning, giving up 28 basehits and walking 16.

Last year, Paul Kirkpatrick pitched for Hoofddorp Pioniers in the Dutch Major League. The righthander appeared in 21 games (four starts, eleven as closer) and was 3-4 with three saves and an 1.98 ERA. Kirkpatrick struckout 50 batters, walked 25 and gave up 40 basehits in 59 innings pitched. His 1.98 ERA was eighth best in the league. In the following Play-Offs against Curaçao Neptunus, Kirkpatrick was 0-1 and gave up seven hits and five earned runs in one start.

After completion of the season in the Netherlands, Kirkpatrick traveled to Australia. There, he played in the 2019-2020 season for Coomera Cubs in Oxenford, Queensland. He pitched in eight games (all starts) and was 2-1 with a 2.41 ERA for the team that plays in the Greater Brisbane League. In 37 1/3 inning, Kirkpatrick struckout 25 batters and gave up 38 basehits.

As he has a British passport, he became eligible to pitch for the British National Baseball Team. In 2016, he made his debut during the World Baseball Classic Qualifier at MCU Park in Brooklyn, New York (USA). He made his first appearance in relief in a 14-0 shutout win against Pakistan. With the British team leading 10-0, Kirkpatrick took over the pitching in the bottom of the fifth and gave up one basehit in the one inning he threw As starting pitcher Greg Hendrix didn't throw the required five complete inning, Kirkpatrick was credited with the win. In the Final, Kirkpatrick threw the final 2/3 inning for Great Britain against Israel. With Israel leading 7-1, Kirkpatrick gave up a 2-out, 2-run double. Israel won 9-1 to qualify for the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

Last year, Kirkpatrick was one of the pitchers for Great Britain during the European Championship in Germany. He then threw in relief against the Czech Republic, Israel and Sweden and was 1-0 with an 0.93 ERA and six strikeouts in 9 2/3 inning. He earned the win by pitching the final five innings in a 12-2 win against Sweden.

(March 9)

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