Scott Hovey would’ve gladly played his college baseball anywhere. As a New England native, though, he knows there’s something special about playing close to home, and the unique challenges Northeast baseball schools face.
A senior-to-be at the Salisbury School from Danvers, Hovey gave a verbal commitment to pitch reasonably close to home at the University of Massachusetts late last week.
“I’m really excited that my parents and my little sister will be able to watch me play,” said Hovey. “I’ve always wanted to go to a big, Division 1 school with a big campus and lots of sports, and that’s what UMass is. They also have my planned major, sports management, and they’re ranked in the top 10 in the country for that.”
A two-time Northeastern Conference all-star at Danvers High, Hovey transferred to Salisbury to repeat his junior year for 2012-13. He’s grown a bit since his NEC days, now standing 6-foot-2 at 215 pounds, and has added a few miles per hour to his fastball.
He also garnered attention from college scouts while playing for Steve Lomasney’s Show Baseball Academy team, which has traveled to New Jersey and Georgia among other locales, for tournaments this summer.
“I had a pretty wide slate of options, and it kind of came down to UMass, Quinnipiac, Holy Cross, George Mason, Albany and William and Mary as the big ones,” Hovey said. “UMass saw me throw really well in a game for Salisbury, and I went for a visit in June. I loved the coaches and the facilities right away, and they made an offer after a Show game last weekend. I took a day but I knew that’s what I was leaning towards.”
Mike Stone has been coaching UMass baseball for 26 years and has recruiting a number of North Shore prospects over the years. In Hovey, he’s getting a power pitcher whose fastball tops out in the 87-89 mile per hour range. He’s the type of hurler that attacks the strike zone and isn’t afraid to challenge hitters, and he says the extra year at Salisbury helped him hone his off-speed stuff.