McAllister Ready To Bring Passion For The Game To UConn
July 31, 2020
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McAllister Ready To Bring Passion For The Game To UConn
BOW, N.H. - The original aspiration for Levi McAllister was to play baseball in the south.
“I wanted to go where you can practice outside year ‘round and it never snows,” the St. Mark’s junior-to-be explained. “But once I saw how college baseball was, and that some of the best schools in the country are in New England, I put that ambition aside.”
Enter the University of Connecticut.
“They first saw me at a camp when I was 15,” McAllister related. “It was the first time I met the coaches and learned what the program was all about. I held the program in high regard.”
At the age of 16, UConn had seen the sixth-rated 2022 catcher in New England in live action and this past March recruitment talk heated up.
“I began talking to coach (Joshua) MacDonald a lot,” McAllister said in reference to the pitching coach/recruiting coordinator at the Big East Conference school. “After that I talked to Adrian Siravo and Owen Kellington, both UConn commits I play legion ball with, and they said they loved it. I began to put more thought into it and talked with UConn three or four more times.”
An offer came in June.
“I told them I wanted to be a Huskie,” McAllister said. “I had a couple other offers but I just didn’t get the feeling with them I did with Connecticut.
“I know when I walked on the campus with my parents, 30 minutes later I said that I can see myself going here. It has one of the nicest fields I’ve ever seen, plus they have new facilities for baseball with batting cages, a full-sized clubhouse, a weight room for baseball and a new turf field. It didn’t hurt that it was close to me.”
It brought an end to the recruiting process and reality to a life-long dream.
“Since I was four-years-old my goal has been to play in the majors,” McAllister reflected. “My parents have known I’ve wanted to play since I was an infant. Once I started playing travel ball at nine I wanted to play college baseball. The team I played on had a wall of players that went on to play college baseball and I remember my dad saying that’s what you want to do.”
The idea of playing at the next level became more real at 14 when, playing in a tournament against a high-ranked team with college scouts in attendance, McAllister went 4-for-4 with a home run, two doubles and three RBIs.
“After the game I had three coaches I was told to call,” McAllister noted. “That made it real and motivated me more to work harder.”
Credit for improvement goes to coaches at St. Mark’s and the New England Ruffnecks summer team according to the 38th-ranked junior in the New England six-state area.
“I was an athlete instead of a baseball player,” McAllister explained. “They taught me little things that made a big difference in the long run.”
While strides have been made with the hit tool, it is the catching ability of the 5-9 190-pounder that stands out.
“Hitting is icing on the cake for me, it’s second fiddle to what I do behind the plate,” pointed out McAllister, who has spent many a Saturday receiving college-level pitchers throwing 90-plus miles-an-hour at Cressey Sports Performance. “I failed a lot, but being able to handle college guys ... when you go back to high school the game slows down.”
Love for the position came immediately.
“After coach-pitch baseball, I was the only guy that wanted to throw on the pads,” McAllister remembered. “After the first day I was hooked. I feel like it chose me, not that I chose it.”
What McAllister did choose to do was accept an opportunity to play at UConn, which is located two hours and 15 minutes from home.
“This means more than the world to me,” McAllister said. “I couldn’t have done it without my parents and God. It’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was nine or 10. All those hours in the gym, BP balls with my dad throwing to me ... he’s done more for me than anyone in the world. Now it all has come to fruition.”
Connecticut is happy to have McAllister, a player known for his passion for the game.
“The fact they didn’t want to change me as a player decided for me,” McAllister said of his decision to commit to UConn. “I’ve struggled playing with too much passion, especially when we lose, but I talked to their coach and he said it’s a really good thing … you just can’t show it. Coach (Jim) Penders said you play with a chip on your shoulder and we want guys that hate to lose.
“The fact that he’s been there 16 years and probably seen 50 different catchers and compared me with some that play professionally also helped decide. Every catcher has tools, and hearing that from him and learning those intangibles sold me.”
McAllister looks forward to bringing his passion for baseball to UConn, which has made six NCAA Tournament appearances in the past decade.
“My love for the game is not fake,” admitted McAllister, who carries a 3.8 GPA and plans to major in kinesiology. “It shows when I sprint out to my position. I never leave the game with a clean uniform. My goal is to be a catcher every pitcher wants to throw to. I love to catch and will always be there to help the pitchers. I want to hold down the fort and be the best catcher I can be.”
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