Heath Kennedy didn't know what to expect.
A first-year baseball coach at Pinecrest Academy, Kennedy arrived in the middle of 2018 with a wealth of coaching experience.
Still, he knew transition years tend to bring a certain degree of uncertainty, and it can take a while for high school kids to warm up to a new coach.
Having Jay Sorohan around sure made it easier on Kennedy.
Sorohan hit .325 for the Paladins as a junior, swiping 24 bags, reaching base at a 49-percent clip and leading the Paladins to the first round of the Class 1A Private playoffs.
On Friday, Sorohan signed to play baseball at Kennesaw State.
"He's very coachable, too," Kennedy said. "Typically when you have kids at an advanced level, sometimes in high school when you come into a program, there can be that time where it's like, 'Hey, I've already learned some of this.' But he's always willing to listen."
For Sorohan, it was an easy decision. He's been committed for a while, and Kennesaw has been somewhat of a dream school since middle school.
"They were my first school that really showed a lot of interest, and it's close to home," Sorohan said. "I knew it from the beginning. Even in middle school, me and my buddies all decided we wanted to go to Kennesaw. Then they offered and it was just an easy yes."
Sorohan, a slick-fielding shortstop, plans to remain at middle infield under longtime skipper Mike Sansing, who began coaching at Kennesaw State in 1992. Sansing established the Owls as a Division II powerhouse before making the jump to Division I in 2006.
In 2014, the Owls won 40 games and reached a Super Regional against Louisville.
For now, Kennedy hopes to mold Sorohan into a role that some of his underclassmen can fill after Sorohan graduates.
"What we're working on now is, let's let this trickle down to the younger guys," Kennedy said. "The example that he has, is everybody looks up to him. But now we've got to see those actions and all the the core values in the institute – not just be a leader on the field, but off the field, too."
Kennedy said Sorohan makes practices easier since he can use Sorohan as an example during drills.
"His actions, in terms of his physical ability at shortstop, I've had a couple of guys I coached who went on to play pro ball and he's up there with those kinds of actions," Kennedy said. "He's got the talent to do some great things."
Pinecrest will return a solid core in the spring, led by Sorohan and Caleb Bohn, a senior who hit .462 with four home runs last year.
"I think we're going to be really good. I think we might be able to make a run," Sorohan said. "We have really good pitching, we have Caleb and I'm going to pitch a little this year. I think we're going to go far."