Prep Baseball Report

Q&A With McHenry County Commit J.T. Athy

By Steve Nielsen
Scouting Supervisor – Wisconsin/Illinois

J.T. AthyThe recruiting process happens differently for every individual, and for most it is not an easy process. There are many visits to make, phone calls to make, and life altering decisions. For MIF J.T. Athy (Cudahy, 2015) it was just as difficult, and in the end he chose McHenry County College to continue his playing career after high school. Athy stood out at two Unsigned Senior Showcase over the fall and winter and for Athy they proved very fruitful. His recruiting interest heated up and eventually decided on McHenry County.

Here’s one of our recent scouting reports on Athy:

Athletically built, 5-foot-10, 160-pound left-handed hitting shortstop. Offensively hits from an open stance, smooth loading action, short stride, lower half works well, maintains strong balance throughout. Short bat path, hands work well, quick hands, line drive gap to gap hitter, occasional opposite field tendencies. Athletic hitter, loose hands, bat speed present, top of the lineup hitter. 86 mph exit velocity from the tee. Defensively showed advanced actions on the infield, soft hands, fluid footwork, quick clean exchange, plays through the baseball well. Athletic arm action, showed excellent body control when on the move, short loose arm action from high ¾ slot, 76 mph across the diamond. 7.25 runner in the 60. 

PBR: What were your expectations about the recruiting process? Was it as expected? Easy/Difficult?

Athy: The whole process took a lot longer than I expected. I thought making a decision would be fairly easy but in reality it took a lot of time and consideration, of my options, to make my decision. 

PBR: What were you looking for out of a college program to continue your baseball career at?

Athy: I was first and foremost looking for a college where I felt comfortable, and one that could benefit me from an educational standpoint. I also wanted to join a program that has a winning tradition, and a coaching staff who wants to play for championships.

PBR: Did location or distance from home play a factor in your decision?

Athy: In the end, location did play a role in my decision. MCC is an easy drive, if I choose to come home for a weekend, and it's convenient for my parents to come down and watch my games.

PBR: When did the recruiting process really start to heat up for you? Was there a particular game or event that you feel turned the corner for you?

Athy: The process really started to heat up after I attended the PBR Unsigned Senior Showcase in October. I had multiple schools get in contact with me and many visits followed. 

PBR: Where did McHenry County first see you? How did your relationship develop with them?

Athy: MCC first saw me through my PBR profile. My relationship started by just sending a few emails back and forth and eventually going down for a visit. 

PBR: What do you like most about MCC and what were the key factors in making your decision?

Athy: The one thing I like the most would have to be its location. I am far enough away from home to be able to be independent but it's still close enough for my parents to be able to come down and see a lot of my games. I also liked how familiar I was with the area due to playing multiple tournaments down in Crystal Lake. Another big factor in making my decision is the opportunities I feel like I will have going there. A bonus to playing for MCC is that it gave me the opportunity to play once again with one of my best friends Nick Vasic. 

PBR: What other schools were on your short list before you made your final decision?

Athy: The other schools on my short list were; Iowa Lakes CC, Spalding University, UW-Lacrosse, and UW-Oshkosh

PBR: Who is the best player you have faced in your state, and why?

Athy: The best player I have ever had to face in the batter’s box would have to be Evan Kruczynski, who I faced in the Hitters Spring League. With how good his stuff was, and how tall he was, it felt like the ball got on you quicker than usual. Evan throwing from the left side and me hitting from the left side didn't help my cause but it was fun to face that type of pitcher, and challenge myself.

PBR: At what point in your career did you realize you were a college caliber player and became serious about taking your game to the next level?

Athy: I was training at Hitters Baseball Academy since I was 12 so I had always dreamed of playing at the college level. When I was 15, I got the opportunity to play on a post high school season team that was loaded with talent and playing in an international tournament. Some of the players on that team were: Trevor Cho, Mitchel Makarewicz, Dominic Clementi, Joe Kaszubowski, and Jonathan Stiever.  We took 3rd place in that tournament and after that I realized that playing college baseball was a reality. 

PBR: What advice would you give to young baseball players striving to get where you are?

Athy: My advice would be to always work hard. You won’t get anywhere in life if you don't work hard and give 100%.

PBR: What is the most memorable moment in your baseball career to this point?

Athy: My most memorable moment in my baseball career would have to be my freshman year when we beat New Berlin Eisenhower and my future teammate Nick Vasic on a walk off in the Regional playoffs. 

PBR: Preview your high school season for us. How do you feel your team will be? What are your expectations and goals?

Athy: I feel our team could be very competitive, we just need to play our game. We'll have some good hitters in our lineup so producing runs shouldn't be a problem. If we play solid defense, in support of our starting pitching, we'll give ourselves an opportunity to win. Our first goal is to win our side of the conference and if we do that our next goal will be to win the conference tournament. 

PBR: Where do you play in the summer? And what has been your most memorable experience with them?

Athy: Cudahy still plays summer High School baseball so I play with my high school team. My most memorable experience, of last season, was winning the South Milwaukee wood bat tournament. We really came together as a team and ended up playing our rivals for the championship and came away with the "ship".