Like any college graduate, Todd Keneborus searched for work or an internship.

But it was conditional.

He could do the job … unless baseball came calling.

Keneborus, a standout outfielder at Cheverus High and St. Joseph’s College, was not ready to forget his dream of playing pro ball.

He had the resume — .399 career average at St. Joseph’s, 14 home runs, 150 RBI, two-time conference Player of the Year, and All-American status.

But pro baseball offers rarely flood in for Division III sluggers.

During his junior season in 2011, a few scouts asked about him, but Keneborus planned to return to St. Joseph’s his senior season.

This past season, “I heard from a few teams, but nothing too serious.”

Keneborus was not drafted last June, nor were scouts calling to sign him as a non-drafted free agent.
A dream postponed.

“I wondered if it was going to happen,” Keneborus said. “There was never a question in my mind if I could do it. It was if I could get a shot.”

His only option would be the independent leagues — the starting point for other long shots, including former Sea Dogs outfielder Daniel Nava.

But there was also the real world to consider. Keneborus, with a degree in sports management (and minor in business administration) looked into internships.

The Sea Dogs have such internships for graduates like Keneborus, but the job would run through the 2012 baseball season. Keneborus did not apply.

“It couldn’t happen if I was going to play baseball,” he said.

Meanwhile, Keneborus continued working for a Standish-based landscaping business during the day, and training at night.

His next opportunity was a massive tryout Feb. 8 in Fort Myers, Fla., at the Red Sox former spring training facility.

Several independent-league teams sent representatives to watch over 100 players show their stuff.
One of the teams was the London (Ontario) Rippers, a new team in the Frontier League.

They liked what they saw of Keneborus and signed him on the spot to a one-year contract.

The Frontier League has been a around since 1993, now with 14 teams in seven states and Ontario. The league has had 21 players eventually reach the major leagues.

Some of the players in the Frontier League used to be with affiliated teams, including ex-Sea Dog infielder Vladimir Frias, who played 35 games for Portland last year (.250 average).

He is with the River City Rascals in O’Fallon, Missouri.

Several of the league players appear to be like Keneborus — those finished with college and looking for a shot at the pro’s.

The Rippers’ season begins May 18, the day when Keneborus puts on the uniform of professional ballplayer.

“I just had to stick with it,” he said, “and have a little confidence in myself.”

• • •

A few former Sea Dogs can be spotted on other independent rosters. In the Atlantic League, reliever Santo Luis (2010-11) is with the York Revolution, and outfielder Jeremy Owens (2003) will begin his fifth season with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, Owens, 35, is a player-coach.

In the Can-Am League, first baseman Sandy Madera (2008) is with New Jersey.

• • •

Miguel Gonzalez, who pitched for the Sea Dogs last year, has been signed by the Baltimore Orioles.
Gonzalez, 27, was 0-5 with a 6.17 ERA in 15 starts and six relief appearances with Portland last year.
The Red Sox released him in December.

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