Baseball has been a part of Chris Kemlo's life for a very long time. With a passion and a drive, he has succeeded in turning what for most his age is a recreational activity, into a full-time career following his years at Durham College.
Not only does Kemlo support his community as a coach with the Toronto Mets, but he is also the Director of Canadian Scouting for the burgeoning Prep Baseball Report, and he was recently named the Canadian Area Scout for MLB's San Diego Padres.
"There were a lot of important skills I was able to hone as a student-athlete at DC," mentions Kemlo. "Work ethic, accountability, openness to learn and handle criticism, being able to deal with people, and being put into a setting that at times might be uncomfortable but knowing how to react."
The Oshawa native, former Oshawa Legionaires player, graduated from R.S. McLaughlin CVI before heading south of the border to compete at Santa Fe Community College in Gainesville, Florida. He was then selected by the New York Yankees in the 2001 amateur draft, eventually working his way through the Gulf Coast League to the Class-A Tampa Yankees. After spending time with a number of other teams throughout the U.S. and Canada, he then credits the connection he had built with long-time Durham College head coach Sam Dempster for bringing him back to DC.
"When I was making my decision after Florida it really was because of Sam and the type of person he is, what he stands for, and the ability to be close to home," said Kemlo. "Sam Dempster is a legend and brought so much value to his players on-and-off the field. My favourite memory without a doubt was being able to bring Sam his first ever national championship."
Kemlo was a critical part of the Durham Lords 2011 Canadian Intercollegiate Baseball Association (CIBA) national championship team. He then followed that up with CIBA national championship all-star team honours in 2012.
"I remember scouting him for four years and was honoured when Dick Grouch (long-time scout with the New York Yankees) asked me to accompany him when they came to sign Chris," said recently retired Durham Lords baseball head coach Sam Dempster.
"Chris always had a knack for seeing what was inside other players, so it is a perfect fit to now see him as a scout," as Coach Dempster went on to reminisce a story that showcased Kemlo's future career possibilities. "I remember at the 2011 national championship I asked him to go to the bullpen and get someone ready, and off he went, but he never relayed the message completely because he knew our starter Shawn Lamb was in charge and he was going to finish. It was an awesome feeling for me to know he knew."
With years of playing baseball under his belt, staying connected and networking everywhere he went, and keeping up with the baseball scene in Canada, scouting became a natural progression for Kemlo.
"The biggest thing if you want to pursue any career that you are passionate about is staying up-to-date with all the happenings in that industry, making phone calls to network, and just building relationships," advised Kemlo. "This is something that I love to do and the fact that I have been able to build it into something that can provide for my family makes it that much more special to me."
— Story courtesy www.durhamlords.com
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