By ALEX SPONSELLER Despite the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down the baseball diamond for the spring, Bishop Hendricken baseball is still making headlines as three of its players made their college decisions official in the past few weeks. Senior captain
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down the baseball diamond for the spring, Bishop Hendricken baseball is still making headlines as three of its players made their college decisions official in the past few weeks.
Senior captain Rob Whalen will take his talents to Division III Clarkson and is thrilled to accomplish his goal of playing college baseball.
“It’s been a long process that’s taken almost two years, so to finally come to a decision feels great. I talked to the coach and it was a possibility to play baseball there, I wanted to continue my baseball career at the collegiate level and that was an option. It actually had a lot in common with Bishop Hendricken and I just clicked as soon as I went there,” said Whalen.
Whalen expects the margin of error to be small at the next level and will work hard to sharpen all aspects of his game prior to arriving in the fall.
“I have to fine tune my game. It always comes down to the basics, but at that level, it comes down to who makes the fewest mistakes, who knows what they’re doing at all times. That’s very important at the next level,” said Whalen, who will miss the friendships and competitive atmosphere of Hendricken. “The brotherhood. Everyone felt that they were part of the team, no matter how big or small their role was. The love of the game, everyone wanting to play and to have that at bat, every person in the Hendricken program wanted to win. That’s something that needs to be brought to any level.”
Top sophomore recruits Brandyn Durand and Andrew Noland will be competing at the Division I level, as Durand committed to Kentucky and Noland Wake Forest.
Durand is looking forward to the eventual move to Kentucky and getting to know his teammates.
“It’s huge for me, especially with everything going on now with the spring being ruined. It was definitely a good decision for me, a big decision for my family. Kentucky wasn’t even on my radar until the PBR Futures Game, I was in contact with 12 other schools. All of their facilities are gorgeous, they’ll be nice and worn in by the time I’m there. I was also able to watch a few practices and you saw that chemistry and that brotherhood,” said Durand.
Durand is also feeling the effects of the pandemic, which has forced him to adjust his training regimen heading into the summer season.
“The high school season is like our warmup for the summer which is the big season, so this will definitely set people back to not have those live at bats. But I didn’t stop training, I’ve been working with Gian Martellini and Chris Constantino, so we’ve been doing different stuff to keep me active and I have been doing a lot of stuff at home. But to not have live at bats, not catching bullpen, it’s tough,” said Durand.
Although it is early in the process, Durand feels that there are advantages to making the decision sooner rather than later.
“I think it’s better than I’m committed early. You see with (upperclassmen) the stress of the process, but that’s just a weight off my shoulders, I can play baseball and have fun. It’s in my future and I have to work hard at it, but I just need to keep doing what I’m doing,” said Durand.
Noland is also happy to have the decision behind him early and to start preparing for the college game.
“It’s good to be able to get it done. I wasn’t too worried about when I was going to commit, but to have it done earlier rather than later is a good thing. I liked everything about (Wake Forest), the location, the conference, strong academics, strong baseball, it has it all for me and I’m really excited,” said Durand. “I’m just trying to get better every day. They are not too worried (about what position I’ll play), I can play multiple positions, so right now I’m just going to work on my switch hitting and defense. Watching college baseball, it’s always something that you want to do. Facing that competition, seeing where you stand, I just love competing and that’s a real big thing for me that I’m excited for.”