By MIKE SMITH
On Nov. 15, Iona’s Ryan Doty signed a national letter of intent to play college baseball for Villanova next year. The Gaels’ star–who grew up playing for a number of Harrison teams–said that, after a recruiting process that took the better part of four years, he’s ready to compete–and hopefully flourish–at the next level.
Doty, a pitcher and infielder for Iona, started exploring the possibility of playing collegiate ball as a freshman, participating in recruiting showcases. From there, his strong play–both during the high school season and over the summer months–turned the heads of coaches at a number of national programs.
“I started with the showcases just to get on the radar of the schools, and then junior year, [the process] really picked up,” Doty said. “Over a period of time, I accumulated about 25 offers.”
Doty narrowed the list down to five schools, including Virginia Commonwealth University, George Washington, Elon and Boston College, but ultimately felt the Wildcats would be the best fit.
“Villanova worked out because it was pretty close to home,” he said. “Also, I want to major in business and they have a great alumni network in this area and have a top 10 business school.”
Though he has had preliminary talks with the coaching staff about his 2014 projections, Doty figures to see some relief opportunities as a freshman and believes he could be used as a starter in weekday games.
“They said that they will see where things fit in the fall, and I know that they are bringing in a lot of pitchers,” Doty said. “But I hope to maybe become a weekend starter.”
The Iona right-hander said that, throughout the recruiting process, his fellow college-bound teammates were an invaluable resource, both the older players he played with at Iona and his teammates from the Taconic Rangers, an elite summer squad.
“Playing with kids like [Beacon High School pitcher] Tony Romanelli [who will play at Wake Forest] and [Arlington High School standout] Drew Lugbauer [who signed with Michigan] definitely motivated me,” Doty said. “Especially just to have all the scouts that came to watch us.”
Doty currently throws in the mid-to-high 80s, but says that, as he gears up for his senior campaign with the Gaels, he’s hoping to jump a few more clicks on the radar gun.
“I definitely want to gain some velocity. It’s pretty high, but it can never be high enough,” he said. “I also want to work on getting stronger and developing my off-speed pitches.”
Though the Gaels’ standout has his sights set on the future, he’s hoping for a strong finish to his high school career this spring.
“Whether it be pitching, hitting or playing the field, I definitely hope that I can finish my senior year with a CHSSA championship,” he said. “We fell just short last year, but it would definitely be a great way to end my senior year.”