Leor Kedar

School: Council Rock North



Favorite athlete: Mike Trout

Favorite team: New York Yankees

Favorite memory competing in sports: Finishing in the final 8 in Cooperstown

Music on playlist: Mostly 80s and recent hits

Future plans: Work on Wall Street

Favorite motto: "It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog." - Mark Twain

One goal before turning 30: Become a millionaire.

One thing people don't know about me: I have been playing the saxophone since I was 6 years old.

By Mary Jane Souder

200 swings.  Every day, every single day.

Baseball is Leor Kedar’s passion, and yes, the Council Rock North senior has taken 200 swings every day since he was nine years old.

“He’s a real good hitter, one of the better hitters in the area, but he works at it,” Rock North coach Matt Schram said. “I can tell you right now – if there are people who practice as much as he does, then God bless them because he literally hits every day of the year. He does not put his bat down.”

Some might say that’s too much, way too much. As a matter of fact, Kedar has heard that more than once, but for the Rock North senior captain, it’s not drudgery, and it’s not too much.

“I enjoy it,” he said. “But just like everything – some days I don’t feel like doing it, but those are the days where I get the most work in.

“No matter how I am feeling that day, I put forward 100 percent effort and try to get 1 percent better every day. There is always room for work. No one is perfect.”

Kedar hasn’t been in this alone.

“My dad (Yinon Kedar) has been a huge part of it – he throws to me every single day, so we will either go to a field, or if it’s raining, we’ll go indoors to the NAC Sports Training Center or EL1 in Huntingdon Valley. Unless I’m hurt, there are no days off.

“If it were not for my dad, I would not be where I am today. He has taken countless hours of his own time to help me become the best player I can be on and off the field.”

It’s hardly a surprise that Kedar has been an impact player since he set foot on the diamond as a freshman.

“He’s been a four-year starter,” Rock North coach Matt Schram said. “It has been very few and far between in our program that we’ve had four-year starters.

“He’s an outfielder naturally. This year because we have young guys, brand new guys on the field and knowing that when he was growing up he was that little league ball player that could play shortstop - he could play anywhere. He was that good of a ball player.

“I told him – ‘We’re doing a little bit of a little league move here. I’m going to move you to shortstop. I know it’s not your main position, I know you’re not going to play it in college, but I need to have a senior with some stability at shortstop because we have so many moving parts in our infield.’ You know what he said – ‘Sure coach, anything you need, I’ll do it,’ and he did. He jumped right out there and put the team on his shoulders at that position.”

As important as baseball is in his life – and it’s very important, academics are even more important, so when it came time to choose a college, Kedar had plenty of options.

“I had multiple schools looking at me – D1, D2, D3, but my goal was to go to the best academic school possible,” Kedar said. “I wanted a combination of both academics and baseball.

“I didn’t want to go 100 percent baseball. I wanted good balance between them.”

Swarthmore College – which has an acceptance rate of just 7 percent – fit the bill on both counts for a student-athlete who excels on the diamond and in the classroom.

“I also want to take internships in the summer, and Swarthmore was just the perfect fit for that,” Kedar said. “Even some of the D1 schools I was talking to – they didn’t prioritize academics enough or they didn’t prioritize summer internships.”

This fall at Swarthmore, Kedar plans to double major in economics and mathematics with the goal of working on Wall Street.

A family affair

Kedar began playing both soccer and baseball when he was five years old.

“Everyone thought – my parents, my coaches – that, yes, soccer is his sport,” Kedar said.

 Schram met Kedar when he was seven years old and attended his baseball camp.

“He was ahead of the game,” the Rock North coach said. “He was such a good ballplayer then too. Even when he was seven, all he wanted to do was hit and be the baseball player that he is to this day.”

While some make a decision to focus on one sport when they reach middle school and high school, Kedar made the decision to focus on baseball when he was eight years old.

“From then on, I played baseball year round and just kind of threw soccer away,” he said. “I’ve never really played soccer since.”

And what was it that drew Kedar to baseball?

“I just like the team competitiveness,” he said. “It’s between you and the pitcher. They’re trying to get you out, you’re trying to get them out.

“They always say – if you go 3-for-10 in the pros, you’re succeeding 30 percent of the time, and you’re going to be a hall of famer. I just love having the odds against me and still succeeding. I just love that feeling. That’s exactly why I love it.”

Kedar joined the AAU circuit when he was just nine years old, playing initially on the Bucks County Generals, then the Cross Bridge Bandits and, more recently, the Philly Bandits.

He began working with Schram at a young age.

“He never really works with young kids, he works with high school kids, but he came up to my dad and said, ‘I see potential, and I want to start working with him,’” Kedar said. “I started working with him when I was seven years old, and he’s like an uncle to me. He’s like family. He’s an unbelievable coach and, more importantly, an unbelievable person. We got really close, and we are still really close.”

The two families became close friends.

“When I would get sick, his mother, Heather, would make what they call Jewish penicillin, which is really matzo ball soup,” Schram said. “She would drop off a big pot of matzo ball soup at the house if anyone got sick. We’ve known them for years.

“We’ve done dinner with them on the Sabbath on a Friday night. Leor’s grandmother, who’s from Israel, was there. It was just a really neat experience. They’re just a great close-knit family.”

And that close-knit family was rocked to its core when Heather – who had twice beaten cancer – was diagnosed for the third time in 2019 when Kedar was in eighth grade.

“When I was three years old, she got diagnosed the first time with leukemia,” Kedar said. “Then it went away. When I was five, it came back again.

“Once you’re five years out, you’re considered cured, so she was out for nine years, and then it came back a third time.”

“It was such a surprise because she was getting clean bills of health,” Schram said.

Heather put up a valiant fight but lost her battle with acute myeloid leukemia on Dec. 3, 2020.

“I was sending Heather and Yinon motivational messages,” Schram said. “Up until two days before she passed away, she was sending me texts saying, ‘Thank you for the motivation.’

“The cancer took her in Leor’s freshman year. The family was so close, but he never missed a game, he never missed a practice. He battled through it. He’s amazing for somebody who is playing with a heavy heart.”

“It was difficult, it was really hard,” Kedar said. “I know she loved coming to my baseball games, so not only was I doing it for myself.

“She wouldn’t want me to stop just because she’s out of my life now. She would want me to keep playing the sport. I want to do it for me, but I also want to do it in honor of her legacy because I know that’s exactly what she’d want me to do as well.

“I want to do everything I do in honor of her, so when I don’t do as well as I should or when I don’t put forth as much effort, I feel as though I’ve failed her. She did everything she could. She was on ‘her battlefield.’ She fought, and that’s a hard battle. (Baseball) is easy and having fun. If she could do it, we all should be able to do it.”

Academics a priority

Kedar – who boasts a GPA of 4.35 – takes a course load of AP classes, and he is heavily involved in his synagogue and donates to various charities.

“He’s very, very smart,” Schram said. “Swarthmore is a good fit for him baseball-wise. He’s probably at a level that’s a higher than a Division 3 baseball player, but from an academic standpoint, it’s right in line with him.

“When he was doing the college recruiting, he had his sights set on academics along with baseball, so it wasn’t baseball first. He’s a hardworking student, a hardworking family member and a hardworking ball player.”

Just how hardworking is underscored by the fact that he finds time to take his 200 swings a day.

“People tell me – ‘You should stop, it’s too much,’” Kedar said. “I’m like, ‘Nah, I just love it too much. It’s real calming just having my dad throw to me. I don’t need anyone around – just having my dad throw to me calms me down.

“Between my schoolwork and everything, I kind of need that. It’s just real relaxing. It’s just like medicine I’ve got to do every single day.”