Six Hawks make college choices
In the spring of 2010, a talented group of sophomores helped lead the Bishop Hendricken baseball team to its third consecutive state championship.
Now seniors, six of those players announced their next baseball steps in a ceremony on Wednesday. Rich Bacon, Reed Gamache, Bobby Indeglia, P.J. Murray, Tom Pannone and Billy Walker all made their college commitments official with a National Signing Day event at the school.
“For any school to have an athlete signing to play sports in college is quite an accomplishment,” said Hendricken principal Jay Brennan. “For a school to have this group of young men ready to play one sport at these great schools is a tremendous accomplishment.”
Five of the six players will play Division I baseball, led by Pannone and Walker. Pannone, an outfielder, committed to perennial powerhouse Miami, while Walker, a three-year starter at catcher, will join his teammate in the Atlantic Coast Conference at Wake Forest.
Bacon is headed to the University at Albany, Gamache will play at Binghamton, Indeglia is headed to Holy Cross and Murray has committed to Brandeis.
Speaking on behalf of his teammates, Gamache thanked everyone who made those commitments possible.
“To our parents, we want to say thank you for all the sacrifices you have made,” Gamache said. “Standing out in the cold and rain. Driving us to early practices, bringing us home late at night and stopping at the drive thru on the way. Our success is a tribute to your dedication and care.”
With family, friends and coaches on hand, the players signed their names, donned their schools’ hats and made it official.
“I’m pumped,” said Pannone, who will join one of the country’s premier programs. “Sometimes I can’t believe it.”
Pannone’s sister attends Miami and he visited as a sophomore. At the time, playing baseball there seemed like a pipe dream. The Hurricanes have won four national championships and have made 23 College World Series Appearances.
“It was just a dream,” Pannone said. “I never thought I’d ever be able to play there.”
After earning second-team All-State honors last season, Pannone spent his summer with the Florida Bombers, an AAU team based in Miami. Hurricane coaches had the chance to see him, they made an offer and the rest was history. Pannone picked Miami over Mississippi State and Virginia Tech.
“I played in front of them every day, and I guess I just did something right,” Pannone said.
Walker is also ticketed for the ACC. A varsity player since his freshman year at Hendricken, Walker also set the wheels in motion over the summer. Playing for Northeast Baseball, Walker caught the eye of Wake Forest’s coaches and made a commitment.
“It’s been a long road,” Walker said. “They came and saw me play a couple of times and they liked me so I went ahead and committed in August.”
Walker and Pannone’s teammates have also been busy.
Bacon, the starting shortstop and an all-division player last year, committed to Albany, which plays in the America East Conference. The Great Danes went 21-31 last season.
Bacon’s double-play partner, Gamache, is also headed for the America East. He’ll play at Binghamton, which went 21-28 last year and 13-10 in conference.
Indeglia, the ace of Hendricken’s pitching staff for two years running, is headed for Holy Cross, a solid program in the Patriot League. Murray, Hendricken’s starting first baseman, will play at Brandeis, which is one of the most consistently successful Division III programs in New England.
Together, the six give the Hawks baseball program and the school a lot to be proud of.
“It’s a tribute to what these young men have done in the classroom and on the field,” Brennan said. “We are very proud of what they have accomplished.”
And they aren’t done. Baseball season is still a few months away, but with college already figured out, they’re honing in on spring.
“All six of us definitely want to win another championship,” Pannone said. “A lot of us won it in 10th grade. We didn’t get it last year, but we want to get it again.”