At this rate, perhaps the entire returning Randolph baseball team will secure NCAA Division I scholarships.
In early July, it was David Sacco who gave a verbal commitment to Fairfield University. The All Daily Record Player of the Year will continue his pitching prowess in Connecticut.
A few weeks ago, it was Tyler Poulin’s turn, as the lanky pitcher gave his word to a scholarship package from Marist College.
Wednesday afternoon, teammate Matt Iantosca was the next in line. The Rams shortstop, who will move to catcher for the 2014 season, also gave a verbal commitment to Marist and will join long-time friend and battery mate Poulin in Poughkeepsie in the fall of 2014. Iantosca’s stock as a backstop skyrocketed this summer, as he played catcher for the Morris County Cubs and at the Selectfest talent evaluation camp.
Iantosca said that it just happened that he and Poulin are headed to the same school.
“It’s purely coincidence,” said Iantosca, who batted .326 with 21 RBI as the starting shortstop for the NJSIAA North 1, Group IV and Morris County champion Rams last spring. “It’s great that I get to go to school with Ty. We’re great friends and have been teammates since Little League. It’s great that he’ll get to pitch to me for four more years after high school.”
Iantosca had received some interest from Fordham, Seton Hall and Iona, but really had no concrete D-I offers before Marist came calling.
“I visited the school and just loved it,” Iantosca said. “It’s a good academic school and I always wanted to play Division I baseball.”
Iantosca said that he believes he’s a better catcher than a shortstop.
“I like playing both, but I think I shine more as a catcher,” Iantosca said. “Catcher is a better fit for me. I loved playing shortstop. Whatever it took for our team to win, I was willing to do.”
Thomas Asbaty, who is headed to LIU-C.W. Post this fall, was the starting catcher last season for the Rams, who went 25-7 before losing to Westfield in the overall Group IV semifinals. It means that the program will have had back-to-back Division I catchers.
Randolph coach Ryan Casey thinks that Iantosca could play anywhere.
“He’s that good of an athlete,” Casey said. “He could play any position he wanted to. He was very impressive at shortstop for us the last two seasons, but catching is what got his name out there. He’s only been an infielder for us. Baseball is his passion. I know he played football at one point, but had to make a choice to play baseball.”
Iantosca said that his first position was as a catcher, but was moved to shortstop as a sophomore at Randolph. Iantosca was also a pitcher in Little League, but suffered an arm injury and became a catcher.
“It’s his turn now to be behind the plate,” Casey said. “I got to see why colleges want him as a catcher, because it’s what he’s done for most of his life.”
Casey was asked if the pressure is really on now that he has three Division I scholarship players returning from last year’s county champ.
“It’s good for us to have these kids returning and that they’re going to get a chance to play at a high level,” Casey said. “It’s a great feeling to know we have these guys back.”
“For some reason, Randolph always has the bulls’ eye on its back,” Iantosca said. “I think that just makes us all play better.”
Iantosca is pleased that his college decision has been made and he probably already has a college roommate in Poulin.
“It’s a big thing for me,” Iantosca said. “It was always a goal from the start to get the chance to play in college. Now that it’s done, I can just play the game and have fun, play the game the way I do. It doesn’t mean I’ll become laid back or anything, but it does make life easier.”