Cole Wojtkowski commits to D-I Bryant University for baseball
WILLIAMSTOWN — Cole Wojtkowski said he feels like some pressure has been lifted, and he can enjoy his final two seasons of prep school baseball.
That's because Wojtkowski, who began his varsity career at Mount Greylock, has made a verbal commitment to play baseball at Division I Bryant University in Rhode Island.
"I was nervous and excited" when he committed, Wojtkowski said. "It was hard for me to believe that my biggest dream to go to a Division I college and play baseball, felt like a dream come true."
The Hancock resident, and current junior is currently playing baseball at Salisbury School in Connecticut. That happens to be the same school where Pittsfield's Bryce Daley attended and Dalton's Brandon Roughley currently attends.
Wojtkowski will be heading for a school that went 40-20 last year. The Bulldogs, however, have a new coach this season. Ryan Klosterman replaced Steve Owens, who left Bryant after nine seasons to become the head coach at Rutgers of the Big Ten Conference.
Bryant has become one of the "big boys" of the Division I Northeast Conference. In nine seasons at Bryant, Owens had never had a losing season and had four 40-win seasons, including last year. Bryant did not make the tournament in 2019, having lost twice to Central Connecticut in the Northeast Conference tournament.
Klosterman comes to Smithfield, R.I., from Central Florida, where he was the top assistant coach for the previous eight seasons. Klosterman played at Clemson and Vanderbilt, was a fifth-round draft pick of the Toronto Blue Jays in 2004, and spent eight seasons in the minor leagues for both Toronto and Miami, getting as high as Triple A.
The former Mountie said he had been in contact with Connecticut, Fordham, UMass Lowell, UMass, Maine, Rhode Island and Stetson, among others.
"They have a new coaching staff this year" at Bryant, Wojtkowski said, when reached at home before heading back to Salisbury. "They're a younger staff, which I like, because they can connect with the players more. Bryant has had a very good record the past few years, up in the Northeast. They've played many Southern teams and beat them. They beat Virginia Tech and Elon last year.
"They're a good, hard-working team."
The process of committing started over the summer.
"They offered me in June," Wojtkowski said. "It didn't take me long at all to decide that would be my school. I loved it. I felt comfortable there. I could see myself going there."
The baseball aspect of Bryant appealed to Wojtkowski, but so did the academics at the school.
"They have a great business school" at Bryant, he said. "I want to part of the business school."
Wojtkowski said that going to Salisbury helped him in baseball, academics and in his development as an all-around student.
"It was a huge help. The level of baseball they play down there was pretty much against other college kids, because a lot of the other kids you play against are going there as well. Which is great," he said. "You get friends for life there. You're living with them eight months out of the year. If you're struggling in school, your friends are there to help you. There are many resources to help if you're ever in need. I come home on weekends a lot, which is great.
"It's not too far [away], but it's far enough for me, which is good."
Wojtkowski came up playing for the South Troy (N.Y.) Dodgers, one of the top amateur youth teams in the region. He also played for the Team Boston Braves.
At Salisbury, he plays for head coach Kevin Huber.
Some of Wojtkowski's Salisbury teammates are going to Division I Sacred Heart, a Northeast Conference rival of Bryant. Another will be going to the U.S. Military Academy to play baseball.
"It feels great. I can kind of relax a little bit during games, focus more on getting my grades up," he said. "Just work towards the goal of where I want to be when I go to college."
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