As a high school sophomore, Austin Batchelor was too young for college coaches to contact him or his family.
But that didn’t mean they weren’t watching the Malden Catholic and New England Firebirds AAU standout pitcher closely.
Santa came early to the Batchelor house in Peabody as the 16-year old verbally committed to play for Boston College after receiving a substantial scholarship offer just before the holidays..
“I’m excited. BC is perfect for me because I wanted to go to a good academic college that had a strong baseball program,” Batchelor said.
“I also wanted to stay in the ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) and be close to home so my parents could watch me play. I had thought about Notre Dame or Vanderbilt, but both were too far away. And I really like the coaches at Boston College.”
The 6-foot-3 Batchelor was recruited by the Eagles as a pitcher/catcher and hopes he’ll get a good look as a member of the team’s mound crew. He said BC coach Mike Gambino wants him as a pitcher, but if that doesn’t work out he would catch.
“My wife (Paula) went to BC,” said Austin’s father Dave Batchelor, who was also his Peabody West Little League manager and took the league’s all-star team all the way to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Penn. “We told him the decision was completely up to him. He’s been getting letters from everybody, and we said he could wait to see what came along later if he wanted to.
“Boston College is the place he wants to be, and he wanted to commit now. Honestly, I didn’t think anything like this would happen so quickly. We were just hoping he would be able to get into a good school when he was a junior or senior.”