Mizuno NE Runbirds Based out of The Shrewsbury Club Announces College Commitments for Baseball Players

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Twenty-two of the region’s highest-achieving players and seven professionals gained full advantage of Shrewsbury Club’s long track record of placements, professional coaching and guidance, and commitment to players

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Coming out of The Shrewsbury Club's baseball program, Jonathan Santucci, a sophomore at Duke University, ranked as the #23 prospect in the 2024 MLB draft.

We have a twenty-year history of seeing our kids going on to play baseball in Division 1, 2, and 3 college teams, and even at a professional level

Mizuno Northeast Runbirds Baseball Club, which runs out of The Shrewsbury Club, Shrewsbury, Massachusetts’ premier full-service tennis, health, and athletic club, is pleased to announce the latest round of college commitments from the club’s widely recognized baseball development program. This year, 17 players have made college commitments for the freshman class of 2023 after an exciting season of outstanding opportunities, visits from college scouts, and unprecedented commitment on the part of both coaches and players. In addition, five more from the freshman class of 2024 have made commitments. Also of special note is that former four-year player Carter Bentley, class of 2025, was highly recruited both in the ACC and SEC, and has already made a commitment to Virginia Tech.

The recently renovated Shrewsbury Club offers a 90,000-square-foot state-of-the-art destination for indoor and outdoor activities of all kinds, summer camps, and instruction. Widely acknowledged as a leader in baseball development, the club features skilled professional coaches with strong backgrounds in the sport, giving the club’s young baseball players the best opportunity possible to become highly accomplished athletes.

“We have a twenty-year history of seeing our kids going on to play baseball in Division 1, 2, and 3 college teams, and even at a professional level,” said Nate Sorensen, founder of The Shrewsbury Club and Mizuno NE Runbirds. “Some of our players have gone on to play college ball at Duke, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, and other well-regarded colleges and universities.

While many graduates of the Runbirds baseball program have had outstanding success at the college level both academically and as players, some have also gone on to play professionally, either in the minor leagues or majors, or taken a role in team management, coaching, or scouting. There are currently seven active baseball professionals who benefitted from the club’s outstanding facilities, coaching, and guidance from an early age, including Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Tyler “Beedah” Beede, a former player who came up through the club’s program and went on to play at Vanderbilt before making his MLB debut in 2018.

Dante Ricciardi is another such success story of a Shrewsbury Club member going pro. Currently a scout for the Boston Red Sox, he became invested in baseball in elementary school with his brother, Mariano Ricciardi, who is currently playing for the Oakland Athletics. Dante started playing baseball under Nate’s guidance when he was 12 years old and recalls seeing the club’s indoor facilities for the first time. “When you get a chance to see it in person, it’s like, wow! This is for a New England kid. This is unbelievable. You could take ground balls, you could play catch, you could have pitching lessons. You could do a legitimate baseball workout indoors without any restrictions, which was the biggest appeal. We’ve had a very good relationship with Nate from a young age, and it’s continued to grow and expand.” What appealed to the young Dante was that the facility was available in the winter as well. “It’s an awesome resource to use. During those years we learned a lot.”

Other active professionals who came up through the program include Cam Murphy, a scout for the Pittsburgh Pirates; Ian Seymour, for the Tampa Bay Rays; John Andreoli, for San Diego Padres; Alex Amalfi of Toronto Blue Jays; and Scott Manea, Houston Astros.

On the college front, Runbirds has seen hundreds of high schoolers go on to play college baseball, and the experience has given them an edge in a highly competitive arena. Jonathan Santucci, a sophomore at Duke University, an outstanding left-handed pitcher and outfielder, ranked as the #23 prospect in the 2024 MLB draft, is a talented player with an excellent combination of bat speed and arm strength. Jonathan began playing on Nate’s team when he was 12 years old. “What’s good about that is, in my age group, a lot of the kids stay together throughout the entire time, and that allowed us to continue building relationships. We’re still very friendly to this day. I learned a lot, from both Nate and everybody else involved. They were great influences on me growing up, and I became a great baseball player because of it.”

“These outstanding numbers speak volumes about the level of commitment of our coaching staff, as well as our Director of Baseball Operations, Kelly Rooney and Director of College Recruiting, Mike Callahan,” said Sorensen, “Mike recently joined us full-time after an 18-year run as head coach at Worcester Polytechnic Institute to work with families at the club one-on-one to guide them through the rigorous college recruiting process.”

In addition to stellar coaching and a staff dedicated to guiding players through the often-rigorous process of fielding offers and committing to a college, the club routinely sees agents and pro scouts from D1 schools checking out the games.

The club’s focus on baseball starts with players as young as five years old who simply want to enjoy the game. “We’ve always been strong in getting out into the community and the Little Leagues, to provide opportunities for players of all skill levels and at all ages,” said Sorensen. “We want to make sure to give each kid a fair opportunity to get to where they want to be, whether that’s a shot at the pros, a chance to play at the college level, or just to play for the sheer joy of the game.”

“We are seeing many very strong players in every class,” said Sorensen, “with 2021 being a particularly impressive class with strong commitments.” That class saw 15 players committing to D1 schools, including Boston College, Notre Dame, Duke, Georgetown, UMass, UMaine, Northeastern, Holy Cross, and Merrimack. Two other players committed to Rollins College and Assumption University, both D2 schools.

Other players making commitments include:

2023 Commitments

Joey Bazydlo, Eckerd College
Jack Lizewski, Eckerd College
Enger Paulino, Assumption University
Jeremy Delacruz, Worcester State University
Dylan McDonald, Anna Maria College
Colin Johnson, Framingham State
Chase Donahue, University of Southern Maine
Leo Colena, Nichols College
Elliott Seymour, Colby College
Braydon Gray, Stonehill College
Ryan Garner, Husson University
Buddy Rourke, UMASS Lowell
Sam Oestricher, Hobart William and Mary
Tommy Whitlock, Salve Regina
Kodie LeGrand, Worcester State University
Jayden Villanueva, Franklin Pierce University
Hunter Ward, UMASS Boston

2024 Commitments

Jake LeFrancois, UMASS Lowell
Josh Florence, Stonehill College
Jake Zawatsky, UMASS Lowell
Evan Ventura, Army
Noah Basgaard, Stonehill College

2025 Commitments

Carter Bentley, Virginia Tech

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David Schutzman

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