By Phil Anastasia
Inquirer Staff Writer
Buddy Kennedy isn't nervous anymore.
He's a sophomore now.
"Last year I was nervous all the time," Kennedy said. "Now I just bear down and play ball and try to help the team."
Kennedy, a burly third baseman and the grandson of former major-leaguer Don Money, was a one-man wrecking crew for the Millville High School baseball team in Saturday's Grand Slam Classic first-round game against host Washington Township.
Kennedy was 3-for-3 with a pair of home runs, including a grand slam, six RBIs and 10 total bases as Millville beat Washington Township 7-4.
Kennedy also stole a base and made a strong defensive play.
"He has a lot of tools," Millville coach Roy Hallenbeck said of Kennedy. "We brought him up last year because he was good enough as a freshman to play third base and sit in the middle of our lineup.
"But he's getting better and better."
Junior right-hander Nate Eigenmann earned the win with 5 2/3 strong innings of work for Millville (1-1), which advanced to face the Wiliamstown-Absegami winner in Monday's semifinals.
Junior designated hitter Nick Grosso delivered an RBI double and senior left-fielder Nick Cianci drove in two runs with a single and sacrifice fly for Washington Township (0-3).
"We've got a lot of young kids and they are feeling their way," Washington Township coach Bill Alvaro Jr. said. "We're just not consistent enough right now."
Kennedy still is a young player but said he feels like a veteran after a full season at the varsity level as a freshman.
"I didn't do my best last year," Kennedy said. "I know I could have done better but I was nervous playing in front of my friends. I feel a lot more comfortable this year."
Kennedy gave Millville a 2-0 lead in the first with a two-run home run. He doubled in the third, walked in the fifth, then drilled a grand slam over the left-field fence to increase the Thunderbolts' lead to 7-2 in the sixth.
"That felt amazing," Kennedy said.
The game as played in brisk weather, with a strong wind blowing out at Washington Township's field. But neither of Kennedy's homers needed much help to clear the fence.
"I don't think the wind made a difference with either one," Alvaro said.
Kennedy's grandfather played 16 seasons in the majors, including his first five for the Phillies from 1968-72. Don Money is a special instructor for the Milwaukee Brewers.
"He's coming home (to the Vineland area)," after six weeks in Arizona with the Brewers, Kennedy said.
Kennedy said his grandfather tries to attend as many of his games as possible.
"I love when he comes to see me play," Kennedy said after his grandfather missed the best game of his young career.
Millville 200 014 0 -- 7 7 1
Washington Twp. 100 102 0 -- 4 4 0
WP: Nate Eigenmann. LP: Eric Mastran.
2B: M-Sammy Oguendo, Buddy Kennedy; WT-Nick Grosso.
HR: M-Buddy Kennedy, 2.
-- Contact Phil Anastasia at firstname.lastname@example.org