Niko Kavadas lives childhood dream during historic Notre Dame baseball season

“Definitely the most fun I have ever had playing baseball,” Kavadas said.
Updated: Jun. 3, 2021 at 6:33 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - The local kid Niko Kavadas is having a blast playing for the Fighting Irish.

“Definitely the most fun I have ever had playing baseball,” Kavadas said.

That’s saying something because Kavadas won a state championship at Penn High School in 2015.

“Seeing that group of brothers grow up together and play together with the ultimate goal of winning a state championship, I think it was really cool to see all of that come to fruition,” Kavadas said.

What’s really cool for Kavadas, he gets to live his childhood dream playing baseball for Notre Dame.

“I’ve been a Fighting Irish fan since I was born,” Kavadas said.

Kavadas has been going to Frank Eck Stadium ever since he can remember. He loved watching another local kid, Valparaiso High School graduate Jeff Samardzija, pitch for the Irish.

Niko wanted to make sure he did whatever he could do get on Notre Dame’s radar for a scholarship.

“Kinda begged and pleaded with some of the staff to come see some games over at Penn High School,” Kavadas said. “I think it’s made a world of difference.”

It definitely made a difference. As one of the last recruits in his class, Kavadas earned a scholarship from his hometown school and signed with Notre Dame.

“I want to still be able to communicate with my family routinely,” Kavadas said on signing day back in 2016. “They always preach family values so that was a big deal.”

With his parents Robin and Jim in attendance for almost every game, home or on the road, Niko has shined. He’s one of the top home run hitters in the country in 2021 hitting 16 bombs for the Irish this season, which earned him first team All-ACC honors.

For Kavadas, the success is not a surprise.

“I think I am the best player on this field and I am going to do whatever I can to help the team win,” Kavadas said. “I think stepping in there with the mentality that you are the best player on the field is absolutely necessary to be successful.”

Irish manager Link Jarrett has seen that mentality before from one of the best hitters in baseball history.

“It’s really unique,” Jarrett said. “I’ve played against David Ortiz a good bit coming along in the minor leagues and it’s that same type of path and power to all fields.”

Kavadas does not care about becoming the next Big Papi, he just wants to inspire local Michiana baseball players to achieve their dreams, and play at a school like Notre Dame..

“I think it’s really cool that I can come to Notre Dame and be that figure for kids in the community to be like, ‘I wanna go to Notre Dame,’” Kavadas said. “‘I want to pursue a high level education and I want to play baseball in one of the best conferences in the country.’”

The big goal for Kavadas is to play in the MLB.

However, even with the MLB Draft right around the corner, Kavadas’ mind is solely focused on what’s ahead at Notre Dame, which is the South Bend Regional against Central Michigan on Friday.

Kavadas really wants to play in Omaha at the College World Series, and he says that journey starts with a win on Friday against the Chippewas.

First pitch is at 1 PM and fans can catch that game on ESPN 3.

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