By BRIAN CUNNIFF
Alex Hunt has gone a long way to earn the chance to play Division I college baseball.
That’s both figuratively and literally.
Hunt, a resident of Wildwood Crest and a rising senior at St. Augustine Prep, has verbally committed to play baseball at Iona College.
“This is a dream,” Hunt said. “I always wanted to go to college and I only dreamed of playing baseball in college. I didn’t think this was something I would be able to do, so it’s really cool.”
Hunt is a 6-0 righthanded pitcher who has hit 89 miles per hour on the radar gun. He pitched in relief last spring for the Hermits, who went 24-5 and won their fourth straight South Jersey Non-Public A title. He also went on to compete in the Garden State Games this summer.
Hunt was an accomplished player coming out of grammar school at Crest Memorial Elementary School but has had to earn his way in the talented and deep St. Augustine program.
“It’s way different than anything down here,” Hunt said. “I really had to learn a good work ethic. When I got there as a freshman, I really looked up to the seniors and a lot of them had already committed to Division I (colleges) and then even the juniors were also already committing. I really wanted to be like them. They pushed me to be better because I had to be better just to be on the team, and I didn’t want to go to St. Augustine and not play sports.”
It’s been a grind for the last three years for Hunt. He’s forced to travel not only nearly an hour each day to and from school but also another 45 minutes or so to the Baseball Performance Center in Pleasantville where he regularly trains.
“It’s like a whole triangle of driving,” Hunt said with a laugh.
And that doesn’t even take into account the travel he endures for his travel team, All Out Baseball, which is based in the Deptford area.
“It’s worth it, though, that’s all I can really say,” Hunt said. “Everyone has a similar goal as you so it pushes you to be better. The travel (is hard) but no matter what I have to live with it, because you realize it’s worth it. It’s a small price to pay for what you get out of it.”
Hunt said he has received a combined academic and athletic scholarship package that will see his family paying less for him to attend Iona than they pay for him to attend St. Augustine Prep each year.
Hunt said he also had offers from New Jersey Institute of Technology and The College of William & Mary.
Hunt said he tentatively plans to major in business or finance at Iona.