Pittsfield's Ryan LaPierre signs letter of intent to play NCAA Division I baseball at University of Hartford
PITTSFIELD — Anything is possible — but you need to work for it.
Michael LaPierre recalls coming home from work and seeing his son, Ryan, running suicides up and down Benedict Road using telephone poles as markers.
Ryan's hard work both on and off the baseball diamond has paid off as the Pittsfield High senior officially committed to attend the University of Hartford and play NCAA Division I baseball on Wednesday afternoon at PHS.
"I got offers from a couple of schools," Ryan said of his decision-making process. "I just really liked the coaches and campus at Hartford. I feel like it was a good fit for me, and I knew that as soon as I stepped on the campus."
Ryan achieved All-Western Massachusetts first-team honors last season, as the Generals went 19-3 and played in the Western Mass. Division I semifinals.
"From Little League on up, you give him the tools and hope he grasps them," Michael LaPierre said. "At each level he always seemed to rise above. It is all about hard work and what you do off the field."
Seamus Morrison, Pittsfield's varsity coach, recalls bringing the now 6-foot-3 pitcher up to practice with the varsity team at the end of his freshman campaign.
"You could just see it in him, the sound off the bat was different," Morrison said. "His mentality wasn't one of a freshman grateful to be practicing with the varsity team, he was there to work. I am really proud of the kid and he was worked extremely hard since then.
"Just to see the progress and the mentality of a kid that won't let one thing bring him down. The persistence is there and it isn't going to be easy in college, but he has the mentality to do it."
Much like Michael, Ryan's mom, Barbara, quickly noticed how dedicated Ryan was to his craft.
"He just loves the game and started to put more and more time into getting better," Barbara said. "It has always been so fun to watch him play and develop over the years. It has always been a great family thing for all of us to give him a good family crowd at games."
Despite the whirlwind of college visits, paperwork, and meetings being out of the way, Ryan believes he still has work to do.
"It feels good and a weight is lifted off," Ryan said. "I've had a great career [at Pittsfield High] and I am excited to finish it off before that next chapter."
When taking his official visit at University of Hartford, Ryan had a familiar face in Taconic product Drew DeMartino — a junior infielder — to show him around.
"When I was younger I always heard great things about him and always looked up to him," Ryan said. "When I took my official visit he kind of took me under his wing. He is a good kid and explained the program to me and I am glad I had someone around to help me."
Ryan is leaning toward either business or digital media journalism, but isn't completely sure what he will pursue his degree in.
However, he is pretty confident on how he wants to celebrate his hard work paying off in the form of a Division I baseball letter.
"Chicken Parm [for dinner]," he said with a chuckle.
Jake Mendel can be reached at email@example.com, at @JMendel94 on Twitter and 413-496-6252.
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