PHOTOS BY JOHN HADDAD
Team-first success is the most prevalent thing on the minds of Governor Livingston baseball signees Drew Compton and Stephen Reid, who both kept their commitment to play in college at Division 1 Atlantic Coast Conference school Georgia Tech.
However, after signing their letters-of-intent on the second day of the national signing period last week there still lingers the thought of what could possibly happen in June if the 2019 Major League Baseball (MLB) First-Year Player Draft comes calling for two of the state’s top senior ball players.
“It’s definitely a thought right now,” said Compton, 17. “When June comes around that would be the time to focus on that.”
Compton will turn 18 on March 25, right about the time when GL will – northeast weather permitting of course – be involved with pre-season game-scrimmages.
“Right now I’m working on getting bigger and stronger,” said GL’s third baseman, who is also interested in playing time at shortstop. “My off-season will consist of heavy lifting 3-4 times a week and cardio and hitting twice a week.”
Compton, from the left side, and Reid from the right both slugged 11 home runs last year as they helped lead GL to its second Union County Tournament championship. For eight straight games Reid produced at least one round-tripper.
“The thought falls back in every now and then about the draft,” said Reid, who played on the junior varsity team at Johnson in Clark his freshman year before transferring to GL as a sophomore. “I just want to cap off my time at GL with a great senior season.”
Reid, 17, will turn 18 on February 16, about two weeks before practice commences.
“Right now I’m not focusing on the draft at all,” Reid said. “However, that’s just another reason to work hard. I want to get my swings in and make sure to keep my swing intact. There will be training too, but I really want to focus on my swing – not change anything, but try to make it smoother.”
A total of four GL baseball players signed last week, including second baseman Andy Serretti and pitcher-outfielder John Grill with Division 3 Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland.
Andy’s older brother Danny, who also produced 11 home runs last spring as GL’s returning shortstop, is now a freshman player at ACC school North Carolina.
Compton, who also considered Oklahoma State but said the school was too far away and that he loves Atlanta, played alongside Danny Serretti the past two seasons. Danny missed his entire sophomore season with an injury.
“It was really fun to play next to him, I learned a lot from him,” Compton said. “Also, batting behind him in the lineup he was always on base and that gave me so many chances to drive him in for RBI.”
Defensively last year, Compton made eight errors at the hot corner position for an .881 fielding percentage. He led the team in batting with a stellar .489 average and also in RBI with 40.
“I really want to work on my defense and on my swing,” Compton said. “I think if I play shortstop that would help make me a better third baseman, make me more versatile.”
Both Compton and Reid gave Georgia Tech verbal commitments as sophomores.
“Just getting back from seeing everything again on our official visit made it more exciting,” said Reid, who moved from Garwood to Berkeley Heights when he switched schools. “Drew and I going there together makes it that much better.
“I think Drew and Danny Serretti were the kind of players you competed with and I felt all three of us made each other better, playing every day.”
An outfielder and designated hitter primarily for the Highlanders, Reid has aspirations of being GL’s center fielder this year. At Georgia Tech his position will be in the outfield as well.
“Any outfield position really works for me,” Reid said. “I feel my arm strength has gotten a lot stronger.”
You might not think of it when looking at Reid’s build now, but there was a time when he struggled to lift anything in the weight room.
“My freshman year I could barely get 100 pounds on the bar,” Reid said.
He can now bench 365.
“I just kept on doing it and kept on spending time in the weight room every day,” Reid said. “How the ball is coming off the bat, strength is a big part of it.
“This year I really want to have my best year yet.”