BRISTOL - Even as the future of high school sports is continually being delayed due to rising coronavirus numbers throughout the state, another local athlete secured his future to play at the collegiate level.
St. Paul senior Shaun Remillard signed his letter of intent last week to play baseball at American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts next year. Remillard was joined by his family and St. Paul head coach Victor Rinaldi at St. Paul to solidify his commitment to the Division II program.
“It means a lot, especially everything my parents, especially when it comes to baseball, what they’ve sacrificed so I can go to St. Paul, so I can have a ride to early Saturday morning tournaments,” Remillard said. “Everything they’ve done for me, it feels really nice that I can give something back to them.”
Remillard did receive interest from and consider other colleges, but AIC was the only institution he visited before the pandemic made such activities almost impossible. Making the three visits to the nearby institution, he said he made a quick connection with the school and its baseball program.
“There were obviously other schools involved, but when I took my overnight there, just being around the guys, it was like a family,” Remillard said. “Being on campus made me feel at home. Through the whole recruiting process, which is pretty tough right now, they appreciated me, they made me feel at home and welcome to the club.”
A center fielder for the Falcons, Remillard expects to stay in the middle of the outfield as well as do some pitching at the next level. Rinaldi called him the most talented center fielder in the NVL and believes Remillard’s athletic ability could yield him playing time early in his collegiate career as a utility player.
“He’s athletic enough to play many positions in the field,” Rinaldi said. “He’s our center fielder, he’s very athletic, he’s fast, he gets good reads on the ball. There’s no question he could probably play infield if I needed him to play infield as well, he pitches for us, he’s versatile. At the plate, he can bat in the leadoff spot, we can have him bat somewhere in the middle of the order if we need him to. He’s valuable to a team in that regard because he’s and I think a lot of college coaches like that.”
Being recruited primarily over the phone was not the experience Remillard was expecting and definitely not the preferred way to find a college, but that becomes secondary when he gets to add four years to his baseball career that already lost at least one full season.
Selecting to attend a school in Springfield, which is less than an hour away and shares a conference with schools in Connecticut, also gives his family the opportunity to continue supporting him in person.
“It means a lot,” Remillard said. “It’s the game I’ve given everything I have since I was four years old. It’s what I love to do. It brings my family together. At all my games I see both of my grandparents, my parents, my brothers, so there’s nothing really you’d want more than that.”
Beyond celebrating Remillard’s successes as a baseball player, they signing event was also a chance for Remillard to see his coach in person for the first time in months after not having a season together this year.
“It was just great to see Shaun,” Rinaldi said. “I haven’t seen the kids all spring. I obviously talked to him a lot in the spring and still kept in touch with Shaun. I know his goal was always to play at the next level and he works very hard at his craft. He puts in a lot of time in the offseason and I know he’s really been working hard. Not only in the cages and in the field, but he’s been working hard with his grades too ... It was really nice to see him sign that day and get the opportunity to play at the next level.”
Matt Hornick can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or email@example.com