Prep Baseball Report

Gabardi To Live Out His College Baseball Dream At Fairfield

Bruce Hefflinger
PBR New England Senior Writer

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Gabardi To Live Out His College Baseball Dream At Fairfield

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Dominic Gabardi OF / RHP / The Winchendon School, MA / 2024

WILMINGTON, Ma. - An injury and reclassification delayed the recruitment of Dom Gabardi, but only temporarily. Now the Winchendon School senior is a two-way commit at Fairfield.

“Last year in the fall I went to a Fairfield camp and loved it,” Gabardi reflected. “I did well and they started following me. They came to my summer games and offered me in June. I decided to go there in the middle of summer.

“Fairfield is on the uprise,” Gabardi continued. “They’ve been winning the league, they made it to regionals and they’re one of the better teams in New England. It will be cool to play there.”

There was more that the 33rd-ranked 2024 in Massachusetts was enamored with at the university in Connecticut close to three hours from home.

“Why I chose Fairfield is I love the campus, I love all the facilities and the coaching staff is full of amazing people,” the 19-year-old explained. “They offered me as a two-way which has been a dream of mine since I was a young kid. If I turn into a better player I can get playing time as a freshman.”

There were offers as a 2023 two-way from Massachusetts Amherst, UMass Lowell and Merrimack, with interest from additional schools like Butler, Sacred Heart and Charleston, but the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference regular-season champions the past three years was the best fit according to Gabardi.

“All the offers were as a two-way, but I believe Fairfield felt the strongest about me as a two-way,” Gabardi related. “That was very important in my decision. It showed the belief the coaches have in me. At Division I, it’s a rarity to be a two-way but I love both and couldn’t choose one. To live on with it and continue the dream is very important to me.”

The decision to reclassify came while a senior at Austin Prep.

“I believe I have a higher ceiling, I can get in better shape and be the best person I can be,” Gabardi explained. “I injured my ankle two years ago and that set me back, it’s the main reason I reclassified. Offers weren’t coming in so I decided to go post-grad at Winchendon and that helped me a ton recruiting wise.”

Progress on that front took off after the decision to reclassify.

“My recruitment was definitely stressful,” the eighth-rated 2024 outfielder in New England admitted. “It all started after the Futures Game when I got a lot of D-I interest but then the winter of junior year at Austin Prep I injured my ankle. It took three months to recover, but I got back to help us win a state championship during our 25-0 season.

“After the injury I dedicated myself to the gym, before I had relied on natural talent,” Gabardi added. “Once I reclassified the recruiting process picked up and after my first Division II offer my stress went down. It became more of a game than a job. Now that I’m committed it’s a big stress off my shoulders. I can go out and play like I’m in the backyard playing a wiffle ball game with my brother.”

The idea of being part of a baseball program after high school has been around for a long time.

“My dad played college soccer at Butler and pushed me to be the best athlete I can be,” the 65th-ranked 2024 in New England noted. “I’ve wanted to be a college baseball player since I could pick up a ball. To be able to live it, I’m super excited where this journey will take me.”

Fairfield sees a lot of promise in the 6-3 195-pounder.

“They like my projectability, my frame,” Gabardi explained. “They like my power and my defense. On the mound they like my spin rate and effective offspeed. I need to work on my speed, but other than that I have all the tools.”

Little League coach Dan Ardito, who “taught me to play baseball the right way” and Austin Prep coach J.P. Pollard, who “saw talent in me and pushed me to make it to the next level” are credited by Gabardi with being major influences in his life on the diamond, with Fairfield now the next stop on the journey.

“I’m super excited to get to Fairfield with all the facilities and all the coaches there to help me excel and be a better player and student,” concluded Gabardi, who carries a 3.9 weighted GPA and is leaning toward a major in some area of the medical field. “It’s going to be a fun experience. Having a smaller campus is awesome. There are less distractions and more time to work on my craft.

“I’m going to a winning program and it’s going to be fun. I want to help in any way I can and, who knows, maybe we can make it to the College World Series one day.”

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