Notre Dame West Haven baseball stars declare college choices

West Haven – The captains of the 2014 Notre Dame baseball team both made their Division I college selections official by signing National Letters of Intent in a ceremony held at Notre Dame Thursday morning.

Johnny Amendola ’14 and Drew Arciuolo ’14 donned the hats of their respective schools they have committed to as shown in the photo to the right.

Amendola, who hails from Wallingford, committed to Northeastern University while Arciuolo, who resides in Milford, will take his talents to Fairfield University.

Both players took full advantage of the opportunities afforded them in their junior seasons last spring, which resulted in great seasons personally while helping Notre Dame win its fair share of games while opening the eyes of college scouts in the process. Arciuolo was slated to play right field and bat sixth while Amendola was battling for the #2 spot in the pitching rotation.

However, both wound up playing different and major roles on the Notre Dame team that lost 2-0 to Waterford in the semifinals of the CIAC Class L tournament.

Arciuolo wound up batting leadoff and playing centerfield when Griffin Garabedian suffered an ankle injury in the last pre-season game and missed the majority of the regular season. All Arciuolo did was record 27 hits in 25 games for a .392 average, score 27 runs, steal 13 bases, and have 15 RBI’s from the leadoff position. He also excelled in centerfield for Garabedian, who now plays at UConn.

Amendola wound up being the ace of the Notre Dame staff after Greg Zullo was injured in the second game of the season. Amendola went 6-3 pitching most of Notre Dame’s big games. He allowed only 17 runs (13 earned), striking out 50 while walking only 13 in 62 innings. He added two saves and pitched to a miniscule 1.46 ERA. He recorded two wins and a save in Notre Dame’s semifinal state tournament run.

Both players indicated that the academic excellence as well as proximity to home and allowing family members to watch them play were key reasons for choosing their respective schools.

“I am extremely happy for both players,” said head coach Lou Kessler ’77. “Opportunity knocked for them last spring and they took full advantage. They not only helped our team have success last year with great seasons but helped themselves further their careers with what transpired in their college signings today.”

Kessler added, “Both of them are committed to the game, have helped us win a lot of games, and worked hard to achieve their goal of playing at the collegiate level. I know they will have success at their respective schools and I look forward to what they will do wearing the ND uniform this spring.”

Notre Dame President Br. James Branigan, C.S.C. congratulated both players at the signing saying, “While they obviously have great baseball talent, I am equally as proud of them men they are and the leaders they are inside our building each and every day.”

“I am appreciative of the faith the coaching staff showed in me last season,” said Arciuolo. “I am looking forward to senior season. I just want to win and will do whatever it takes. Johnny and I have been talking about it since we lost in the semifinals last year. We don’t want to have that feeling again.”

Arciuolo said he chose Fairfield because it offered the perfect blend of academics and baseball. He said, “The coaches showed a lot of interest in me early. Once I took a visit to campus, it just felt like home. Plus, I loved their Business School. I plan to major in Business and the connections they have in Connecticut and NY City were appealing to me.”

Amendola, who helped the Branford American Legion team win the Connecticut and New England Regional tournaments and advance to the World Series in North Carolina this past summer, echoed Arciuolo’s reasons for choosing Northeastern.

He said, “It is a prestigious academic school and I like their 5-year co-op plan and they play in the Colonial Athletic Conference, which is a real good baseball league. It’s an up and coming program. They recruited me early and when I visited I loved the campus and the coaches are great. I am excited but at the same time both Drew and I feel we have some unfinished business as Green Knights first.”

While the schedule is not finalized yet, Notre Dame baseball will begin its season with pitchers and catchers reporting for practice on March 17, 2014.

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