When Anthony Caradonna made the move this past winter to catcher — a position he had never played — the walk-on from Armada did so to get a chance to move up to the Northwood University varsity team.
As he continued to hone his skills behind the plate this summer as a member of the Michigan Jets, Caradonna wound up earning himself a scholarship, although not with the Timberwolves.
Caradonna has signed to play baseball at New York Institute of Technology, a Division I program that competes in the Great West Conference.
“I was playing on my summer team, the Michigan Jets, and (NYIT coach Bob Malvagna) contacted my coach and said they needed a catcher,” Caradonna said. “I showed him a little short video, and he flew out and watched me play. Then I made a more in-depth video because I couldn’t fly out to New York.”
Caradonna graduated from Armada in 2013 and was a first-team All-Blue Water Area selection. He hit .571 with eight home runs, 30 RBIs and 31 runs scored for the Tigers in his senior season.
He walked on at Northwood as a corner infielder, and was looking at an early opportunity with the school’s junior varsity team. When the chance came to move up to varsity as a catcher, Caradonna saw a faster path to the starting lineup. He spent this past season mostly as the bullpen catcher.
“I didn’t really start catching until the winter came,” he said. “It was difficult to get the receiving down, so I would keep picking the catching coach’s brain. I was getting the throw down, but the main thing was catching it correctly.
“Throughout the year, that came easy … catching nothing but bullpens, every game I was catching about 100 pitches.”
He said the school’s other catcher is a senior, meaning there’s a chance to step into a starting role for multiple years.
Caradonna will be a sophomore eligibility-wise when he starts at NYIT, because he did get into a game for Northwood. His plan had been to graduate in four years, however, so that’s something he said he’s not overly worried about.
All of his credits from Northwood transferred, helping that case, as well. Caradonna was a supply chain management major at Northwood, something he plans to continue at NYIT.
The Great West is a far-flung league, with eight teams competing in baseball. Other members include New Jersey Tech, Chicago State, Houston Baptist, Texas Pan-American, Northern Colorado, North Dakota and Utah Valley.