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, wasn’t 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 for his senior season.

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

Keneborus wasn’t drafted last June, nor were scouts calling to sign him as a nondrafted 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 internships for graduates like Keneborus, but the job would run through the 2012 season. Keneborus didn’t 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 trained at night.

His next opportunity was a massive tryout Feb. 8 in Fort Myers, Fla., at the Red Sox’s former spring training facility. Several independent-league teams sent representatives to watch more than 100 players.

One of the teams was the London (Ontario) Rippers, a new team in the Frontier League. They liked what they saw and signed Keneborus on the spot to a one-year contract.

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

Some Frontier League players used to be with affiliated teams, including infielder Vladimir Frias, who played 35 games for the Sea Dogs last year (.250 average). He’s with the River City Rascals in O’Fallon, Mo.

Several league players appear to be like Keneborus, finished with college and looking for a shot at the pros.

The Rippers’ season begins May 18, when Keneborus puts on a pro uniform.

“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, was 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.

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or: [email protected]

Twitter: ClearTheBases