Herald-Whig

QND left-handed ace commits to play baseball at QU

Quincy Notre Dame left-hander Griffin Kirn pitches during a Raiders game last spring. Kirn announced his commitment to the Quincy University baseball program on Tuesday. | H-W Photo/Katelyn Metzger
Katelyn Metzger 1|
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Aug. 14, 2019 12:10 am

QUINCY -- In three of the past four years, a Quincy University baseball player has been selected on the third day of the Major League Baseball amateur draft.

Griffin Kirn couldn't ignore that.

"Ultimately, my dream is to one day get drafted, which would be awesome," Kirn said. "And (QU coach Josh) Rabe is proven. He played in the major leagues and knows his baseball. He knows how to get guys ready."

Kirn trusts Rabe can do that for him, committing to stay at home and play for the Hawks. The Quincy Notre Dame senior left-handed pitcher gave Rabe a verbal commitment and announced his intentions on social media Tuesday night.

"I've known Rabe and have built that connection with him throughout the years," Kirn said. "It just seemed like the right fit."

Kirn received interest from a few NCAA Division I programs and several D-II schools, but QU trumped them all in one significant way.

"They win," Kirn said. "And their facilities are the best in D-II, almost like a D-I school."

The Hawks will be getting a weekend starter who has the potential to develop into an ace.

Last spring, Kirn led the QND staff with an 8-1 record and a 1.05 ERA over 53 1/3 innings.

He went at least five innings in eight of his nine starts and allowed only one earned run over his final 22 2/3 innings pitched. Kirn struck out 74, walked 27 and limited opponents to a .136 batting average.

But he knows he has to continue to progress as a pitcher to help the Hawks.

"I have to work on my velocity and my change-up," Kirn said. "Those are the two biggest things."

For now, he has other plans. As the starting goalkeeper for the QND boys soccer team, he hopes to lead the Raiders to back-to-back state championships. An all-sectional keeper a year ago, Kirn recorded 11 shutouts, including a 2-0 blanking of Elgin St. Edward in the Class 1A state title game.

His size -- 6-foot-3, 195 pounds -- and ability to control the box drew interest from college soccer coaches, but he was set on playing baseball in college. A state championship never changed that.

"I've probably known that since my freshman year," Kirn said. "I've always liked baseball better."