Good friends Gianni Esposito and Athan Goulos are both headed for St. Leo University in Florida, but they’ll be trying out for different sports. Esposito, the starting catcher for Bishop Fenwick, wants to continue playing baseball while Northeastern Conference all-star golfer Goulos, who had a great career for Peabody High, intends to further his career on the links.
The Peabody duo will head to St. Leo in August to try to earn a spot with the Lions. Both like the fact that the hot weather in the Tampa area will allow them to practice and play year-round.
“I decided to go there for two main reasons,” said Esposito, the cleanup hitter for the Crusaders. “Basically, I like the fact St. Leo’s plays in Division 2, and I’m looking forward to the hot weather there.
“I was looking at Salem State and Fitchburg State, but after I talked to the coach (Sean O’Connor) at St. Leo I decided to go for it. He’s from Massachusetts and likes to get kids from this area, because he says we’re tough (and) because we have to play in the cold weather. I’m pretty sure he grew up in Framingham so he knows what it’s like. He also likes my size.
“I know I’ll have to earn my spot on the team, but I am willing to give it a try.”
O’Connor was the pitching coach at Framingham State and has also coached at Brown, Assumption and Providence before taking over the Lions.
Esposito is a captain and three-year starter behind the plate for the Crusaders. He plans to play Legion ball or for a club team this summer before going to Florida.
“My grandparents have a place down there not too far from St. Leo; I’ll stay with them the rest of the summer,” said Esposito. “I‘m thinking about majoring in business or computer science. I’m excited about playing a lot of games next year; the season starts in January and goes right through to May.