Connolly turned in a terrific sophomore campaign for the Trojans, who captured the MIAA Division 1 State Championship two weeks ago, their first state title in program history. Often taking the ball in big games, he went 5-2 with a save, striking out 68 batters in 49 innings with a 2.43 ERA, holding batters to a .219 average.
Connolly is also the latest product in a terrific family lineage. His brother Mike, a former University of Maine star, was drafted by the San Francisco Giants earlier this month. Their father, Mike Sr., was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in 1982 out of East Bridgewater High School.
This past Wednesday, Connolly took an unofficial visit to South Bend, where Fighting Irish head coach Mik Aoki offered him a scholarship worth 50 percent for four years. After a few days, Connolly gave his pledge this morning while down at a tournament in North Carolina with his cousin, catcher Joe Freiday. Maine was the only other Division 1 school offering him at this time; Connolly was also scheduled to take a visit to Boston College this upcoming week, which he has since cancelled.
"I went to Notre Dame and absolutely fell in love with it," Connolly told ESPNBoston.com. "It's amazing. Their baseball team ranked 15th in the nation at one point. The coach, I trust him, and he offered me a pretty good deal. It's a no-brainer, really."
Aoki, a Milton native, initially reached out to B-R head coach John Kearney about several of his prospects. He saw Connolly pitch in the Trojans' D1 South first round matchup with Attleboro, then watched him again at Area Code Games tryouts on June 8 at Bentley University.
"He liked my command," Connolly recalled. "He liked that I was already 84-87 [fastball velocity] as a sophomore, and he loves my curveball. He said, 'That curveball is unreal'.
"Honestly, [to hear that] is one of the greatest feelings ever. It's almost indescribable. I never thought I'd go to a school like Notre Name, then I went there and fell in love with it. It's just a no-brainer."