Kennedy has won a state-record 44 games in a row
Kennedy has won a state-record 44 games in a row

Kennedy defeated Riverside, 25-7, on Tuesday morning at the Stanfield Tourney, a convincing win for the Trojans over a winless opponent. All the pitchers coach Kevin Moffatt summoned to the mound threw strikes. The offense, led by senior Brody Kleinschmit, was productive not just hitters one through nine in the lineup, but also deep into the bench.

It was a team win, characterized by consistent effort; the kind of win Kennedy baseball has delivered often over the years.

The margin of victory was largely unremarkable. Kennedy (6-0), which defeated Weston-McEwen / Griswold, 15-5, later in the afternoon, has won four of its first six games by 10 or more runs after winning 18 games last year in similar fashion. Indeed, the Riverside win would have been ho-hum, mundane…typical…but for this:

It was the 43rd time in a row that Kennedy had taken the field, spanning three seasons, and emerged victorious. In the near 90-year history of the sport in Oregon, no other baseball team can claim that level of success.

“Baseball is a hard game,” said Moffatt, who’s been in charge of the Trojan program for nearly two decades. “It’s tough to win like that. You run into a hot pitcher or just hit the ball at people and you lose. You don’t usually go on streaks like that, so I do think you need to take a second to enjoy it, and then get back to work.”

Kennedy broke the record set twice by Knappa, which won 42 straight between 2015-2016, and another 42 in a row from 2017-2018.

“It makes me think how amazing those Knappa teams were to win that many games two different times,” Moffatt said.

Kennedy last lost on May 11, 2022. Culver got the best of Kennedy in the second game of a double header. The score was 8-3. Moffatt remembers the game well. He said his team got outplayed and he got outcoached, “but I think it got us focused for our title run that year.”

The winning streak began five days later, against a Santiam Christian program that’s one of the winningest in state history, with four state titles in seven championship game appearances.

“The Santiam Christian game was huge that year- in fact we talk about that one as a program changer,” Moffatt explained. “It was a heck of a game and like 1-0 until the 7th inning. We said after that game if we played like that we would have a shot in every game we played going forward.”

Kennedy won out that year, beating Knappa and Umpqua Valley Christian by identical 11-1 scores in the 2A/1A semifinals and finals, respectively. The Trojans then went 31-0 in 2023 in perhaps the most dominant single season in state history. The star-laden Trojans led the state over all classifications in runs scored – 327 – and led the state in all classifications in fewest runs allowed – 35. They capped their undefeated run by blanking Blanchet Catholic, 10-0, to repeat as champions.

Kennedy came into 2024 on a 38-game winning streak, but with only one returning starter in Kleinschmit. Twelve seniors graduated, taking with them 98 percent of the team’s pitching, defense and offense.

“This is the first major rebuild we’ve had in almost 20 years,” Moffatt said before the season.

Perhaps it is apropos, then, that the inexperienced players on the 2024 were the ones to put Kennedy into the history books.

“I’m proud of these kids,” the coach said. “I think it’s pretty cool that this group was able to finish what a super talented group started. There aren’t really any superstars this year; just solid kids that work hard.”

Kennedy tries to add to the streak, now at 44 games, later this morning as the Stanfield Tourney continues. How long it lasts is anyone’s guess.

“We always just try to play our best and give our best effort,” Moffatt added. “That’s all we can ask. Try to play good baseball and be good human beings and wins and losses take care of themselves. I do tell our kids every time out that they owe it to all the guys who have played here the past 20 years to play their hardest- we don’t have to win but need to carry on the tradition of effort.”