SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

May 12, 2014

Penn State lands St. John's Prep slugger Leavitt

The best advice Keith Leavitt got during the college recruiting process was that when he was in the right place, he would know it.

When the junior outfielder at St. John’s Prep saw the campus at Penn State University Friday, he got that intangible feeling that Happy Valley was the one.

Leavitt committed to play baseball for the Nittany Lions beginning in the fall of 2015 on Saturday night. After visiting the campus, seeing a game and meeting with the coaches along with his father on Friday and Saturday, Leavitt felt the time was right to commit.

“I was blown away,” Leavitt said of Penn State’s campus. “I loved everything I saw and I knew right away that Penn State was a place that I wanted to be.”

A 6-foot-1, 200 pound power hitter from Manchester, Leavitt has been a starter at St. John’s Prep since he was a freshman. He’s leading the Eagles (12-1) with four homers and 13 RBI so far this season while slugging North of .600 with an on-base percentage of .362 that puts his OPS near an incredible 1.000.

“I couldn’t be happier for him. I really feel like this is the right place for Keith,” said St. John’s Prep coach Dan Letarte. “He can be an impact player for them right away and that’s a rare thing for a major program. Their recruiting class this year is in the Top-25 nationally, and when Keith goes in next year he’ll be going into a great situation.”

Penn State head coach Rob Cooper is in his first season with the Nittany Lions after being hired last August. The program hasn’t been to the NCAA tournament since 2000 playing in the rugged Big 10, and Leavitt and the other recruits are excited about being able to change that.

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