AMHERST — Justin Mott spent this summer before his senior year at Amherst Steele High School on a mission to find a college to continue his baseball career.
After attending a few showcase camps and making a few visits, Mott made his choice Monday, orally committing to attend Bowling Green State University following his graduation next spring to play baseball for the Falcons.
“I’ll officially sign in November,” said Mott, who is the Comets’ starting catcher. “It’s a lot of stress off my shoulders. I’ve been working at it all summer — making visits and have done a lot of college showcases — and now I don’t have to worry about it. Now I can just play and have fun.
“Along with baseball, I’ll be playing high school football this year and now I can just relax, play with my friends and have fun. That’s a lot of stress off me that I know where I’m going to college.”
Mott chose Bowling Green over West Virginia, Lake Erie College, Xavier and Morehead State.
“I liked that at Bowling Green everything is close together,” he said. “I’ve been to campuses where you have to take busses everywhere. But everything at BG is a 12-minute walk from each other. I like their baseball field and their coaches. They have a great baseball program.
“Some of my dad’s friends went there and they spoke highly about it. And Coach (Matt) Rositano played baseball for Bowling Green and he spoke highly of it. It was just one of my top choices from the get-go.”
Rositano, who just completed his first season as Amherst’s head baseball coach after a few seasons as one of Al McConihe’s top assistant coaches, was very pleased with Mott’s decision.
“I think it’s great for Justin that he’s able to have this taken care of so early,” Rositano said. “Especially with baseball, because it’s a spring sport. It’s hard for college coaches to see these guys play during the spring. If you’re not signed before your senior year, it’s hard to get on scholarship somewhere. All he has to worry about next year now is about his studies and about playing baseball.
“I think it’s fantastic that he’s going to Bowling Green. It’s a really good baseball program. Danny Schmitz has been there forever and he runs a great program. I went to BG and it’s a great campus and I had a great experience there. I think he’s going to do really well there.”
Mott said that assistant coach Rick Blanc was the person that recruited him the hardest and really sold him on the program and the campus. He also said location was one of the biggest reasons for his decision.
“My parents are very involved in what I do,” Mott said. “A lot of my friends go to Toledo, which is only 20 minutes away, so I should have a lot of family and friends going to my home games. With West Virginia, that’s a school that’s three hours away, and I know it wouldn’t be easy for my parents and family to go to see me play.
“Now I know that my parents will be at almost every home game, as will my grandparents, because it’s not that long of a drive. Plus, I love the ‘small-town’ feel to the campus. You go five minutes away from the campus, and you see fields and ponds and stuff. It just has a ‘homey’ feeling to it, and I really like that.”
Rositano said that a lot of scouts would ask him about Mott while they were looking at pitcher Griffin Weir, who will attend Stanford.
“I think the first thing that stands about Justin is seeing him throw,” Rositano said. “He’s only 5-foot-8 and 150 pounds, but once you see him throw behind the plate, it gets your attention. We had him timed around 1.8 seconds from home-to-second.
“Plus, he’s a great hitter, too. He’s a good RBI guy and he uses the entire field. And despite being a smaller guy, he has some power and can use it.”
With Weir going to Stanford and former Amherst standout Ryan Rua leading all of minor leaguer baseball in home runs with the Texas Rangers organization, Mott’s signing is the latest feather in the Comet baseball program’s cap.
“All of this goes back to what Coach McConihe put in place nine or 10 years ago,” Rositano said. “He did a fantastic job building this program up to what it is now. With Ryan Rua having great success in the Rangers program, leading all minors in HRs, and now with Griffin Weir going to Stanford and Justin going to BG, it gets the youth of Amherst more interested. If they see these kids get these kinds of opportunities, you’d have to think they’d believe they can achieve the same things as they come up through the ranks of Amherst baseball.
“I’m just happy for Justin. He’s a fantastic kid and a fantastic baseball player and I’m looking forward to coaching him again next year.”
Contact Dan Gilles at 329-7135 or email@example.com.