When Mike King posed for a photo on Monday with Bishop Hendricken teammates Rob Henry, Ed Markowski and Lou Umberto, he couldn’t help but think about Little League. His Warwick Continental all-star team lost in the 2008 state championship to a Cranston Western club that featured Henry, Markowski and Umberto.
Those four are now seniors at Hendricken, getting ready for the next step. King made his official on Monday when he signed a National Letter of Intent to play baseball at Boston College.
It was a pinch-yourself kind of moment, with Little League memories serving as a reminder of the journey.
“It’s weird – I just took a picture with three guys who were playing Little League and they were beating me in the state championship,” King said. “Now we’re moving on to the next level. It’s weird, but I’m also really excited.”
King, a right-handed pitcher, verbally committed to the Eagles in December of 2011. He then had a breakout junior season with the Hawks, earning second-team All-State honors while helping lead them to the state championship.
Over the summer, King’s breakout continued. He pitched in the prestigious Area Code Games, a showcase event for the nation’s top high school players, and he also pitched at Yankee Stadium in the Summer Rivalry Classic, an event designed for baseball stars in the Northeast.
Through it all, King stuck with his commitment to the Eagles, and on Monday, he made it official.
“I took my visit there last week and it was a great atmosphere,” King said. “I could picture myself there, and that’s what I wanted to know. I liked it a lot.”
King signed his letter on Monday afternoon in front of family members, coaches and a host of classmates in the lobby outside Pepin Gymnasium. His friends cheered loudly when he donned a black Boston College hat.
“In the case of Mike King, it’s clear that he is not only a great baseball player, but also a great young man and a great student,” said Hendricken principal Jay Brennan. “We use the term scholar-athlete and Mike is every bit of that. He’s worked very hard in the class room and he’s a humble young man.”
Now King will seize an opportunity to compete at the highest level. Boston College is a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, one of the best baseball leagues in the country. The Eagles went 22-33 last season but have consistently been one of the top baseball programs in New England.
“It’s a great academic institution and baseball program, so he’s got the best of both worlds,” said Hendricken baseball coach Ed Holloway. “He’s going to be very successful in whatever he does. He’s not only a great player but he’s a great kid. He’s done everything we’ve wanted him to do. I’m just really, really happy for him and his family.”
Holloway saw King’s potential immediately, when he starred for the Hawks’ freshman team. He pitched well as a sophomore on the varsity squad and really emerged last season.
Holloway envisions more of the same at Boston College.
“He’s got so much potential and upside,” Holloway said. “By the time he’s done with college, he’ll have another 25 or 30 pounds. He’s going to be a pro prospect, I think, coming out of BC. I think he’s going to have a great career in the future in whatever he chooses.”
King has played varsity basketball for the Hawks in the past but he won’t play this year. He’ll focus exclusively on baseball and on doing whatever it takes to be prepared for the next level.
In the meantime, he and his teammates are already thinking about the spring and a shot at a second consecutive state title.
“We’ve got to make it another one and leave it on to the next group coming in,” King said. “We can’t wait.”