Kevin Hahn had given up on the dream.
After graduating from Aragon in 2014 — with Daily Journal Boys’ Athlete of the Year honors — Hahn chose academia over baseball, deciding to forgo athletics to attend the University of Arizona. He also underwent a life-altering surgery in the days following his high school graduation, having his large intestine removed after being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis.
Further complications forced him to leave University of Arizona during his freshman year. After two more surgeries — one to remove a colostomy bag, and another emergency procedure to repair a painful tangle of his small intestines — he realized he was destined to downshift on his college plans.
Then, while recovering, Hahn had a notion to try a baseball comeback.
“When I was laying in the hospital I took it as a sign I wasn’t supposed to give up on sports just yet,” Hahn said.
Now, three years later, Hahn is thriving as a right-handed pitcher in the Division II ranks at Cal State Stanislaus. And his transfer junior season there — in which he posted a 2-3 record, with a 3.13 ERA in a team-best 22 appearances — earned him a shot on the premier summer collegiate wood-bat circuit.
Hahn is currently shining for the red-hot Battle Creek Bombers of the Northwoods League. As he did at Stanislaus, he is leading the Bombers with 28 appearances, through which he is 4-4 with a 3.02 ERA. More importantly, Battle Creek is making an uphill push for the postseason. With five regular-season games remaining, the Bombers are riding a seven-game winning streak.
“We’ve been playing some really good ball as of late,” Hahn said. “So we’re just trying to keep the wave going and hopefully get into the playoffs. … We’re going to need to extend that win streak as much as we can. But we’re definitely going to need some help.”
The second-place Bombers are currently 3 1/2 games out of first place, trailing the Kenosha Kingfish in the South Division.
Hahn has shown to have the magic touch on the baseball diamond, though, especially when it comes to the summer season. Last year with powerhouse Top Speed Baseball of the Golden State Collegiate Baseball League, he was integral to the team’s 49-4 record en route to a league championship.
Now, facing Division I talent of the Northwoods League, the 6-4 right-hander counts his blessing — and often — as the league features one of the densest summer schedules, with over 70 games, in the nation.
“There’s so much talent it kind of feels like I’m out of place sometimes,” Hahn said. “I’m just an average right-hander, so I’m just trying to make the most of it.”
Hahn resurrected his career through community college ball at De Anza College. He transferred to Stanislaus for the 2018 season and said he expects to return for his senior year next season. And he hasn’t given up the notion of playing beyond college.
“You’ve got to try to bring it every night, which is tough because it’s every night,” Hahn said. “Obviously the dream is to get picked up by some kind of pro ball team next year … so you’ve got to be able to train like your life depends on it to be able to compete that much.”
Hahn said the worst of his health concerns are behind him. His doctors have told him he can expect to live a normal life, he said. The only residual effect he currently contends with is taking his daily medication.
“Thankfully this summer I haven’t had any real scares,” Hahn said. “I’ve just been consistent with my meds. There have been a couple little scares … but nothing like I had at Aragon.”