Addison Dunn dreams of one day playing Major League Baseball.
He took a step in that direction recently when the Warren Area High School senior committed to Kent State University to play Division I college baseball in the fall.
He faxed his Letter of Intent at 7 a.m. the first morning of the official signing period back on Nov. 14.
Times Observer file photo
Warren senior Addison Dunn, the District 10, Region 5 co-pitcher of the year as a junior, signed a Letter of Intent to play Division I college baseball at Kent State University, Kent, Ohio, beginning in the fall. In the meantime, Dunn will pitch for defending Region 5 champion Warren (19-2) in the spring season.
Dunn, 17, also visited D-I schools Penn State, East Carolina and Wake Forest in North Carolina, and Winthrop in South Carolina, according to his father, Dave.
The District 10 Region 5 co-pitcher of the year as a junior was most comfortable with the coaches at Kent State - where Scott Stricklin has been Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year during four seasons as head coach, and former Major League pitcher Mike Birkbeck has worked with 23 pitchers who have signed professional contracts. That list includes Andy Sonnanstine, who helped the Rays advance to their first ever postseason and World Series appearance in 2008. The Golden Flashes of Kent, Ohio, rank 18th in the nation, according to Baseball America, heading into the 2009 campaign.
"The main reason (I chose Kent State): They said they were not going to rush me in making a decision," said Dunn.
Dunn will begin his senior season at Warren Area High School in a few weeks; he's rated the sixth best prospect in Pennsylvania for 2009, according to Perfect Game USA. His fastball has been clocked in the low-90's, and as high as 93 miles per hour, at "showcases" for college coaches and scouts.
"As I got older, and I got better, the goal was to play Division I baseball once I got to that point," said Dunn.
He's nearly at that point.
First thing's first, "we haven't won a District 10 title in 30 or 40 years," said Dunn of the Class AAA Warren Dragons, for whom he's been a region all-star in each of his first three seasons.
The defending Region 5 champion Dragons won their first 19 games last season before losing their regular-season finale and losing 2-1 in the District 10 playoffs to region-rival Corry.
The final run of the season - unearned - was scored off of Dunn, who gave up just two hits, both infield singles by the same kid, and no earned runs over 24 innings pitched, striking out 42.
He's been working out this winter, with Warren senior teammate and catcher Brandon Schott, at Southern Tier All-Star Sports, a state-of-the-art indoor baseball and softball facility in Falconer N.Y. (www.ststars.com).
They're currently tapping the baseball mind of former college All-American Perry Husband.
In addition to Division I college programs, Dunn has been getting inquiries - or questionnaires - from professional baseball teams. He was very careful about how he filled out those questionnaires, he said. "Pro teams don't want to draft players that are definitely going to college," he said.
The 2009 Major League Baseball draft is in June.
"Oh, yeah, I've always wanted to play pro ball," said Dunn.
Of course he's open to being drafted. Who wouldn't be when they've dreamed about playing in the Majors their whole life?
"(Being drafted is) a possibility," said his father. "I think he's kept a level head about it."
Dunn's not sure he'd be drafted high enough to change his mind about college, where he's receiving a 96 percent athletic scholarship to attend Kent State.
"We want him to go to college," said Dave Dunn.
But Dave Dunn also said his son (6-0, 180 pounds) turns 18 in a few days, and who knows if Addison will use his liberation into adulthood to his advantage.
It's nice to know you're wanted.
"We have been recruiting Addison since the fall of 2007 because of what we saw him do in the summer of '07," said Kent State's Stricklin. "He has an explosive arm and a great breaking ball. He is one of the better athletes that we have seen in our area. Addison is also a very good position player."
Dunn led Warren in batting in 2008 at .547 with three home runs as a Region 5 infield all-star.
"We feel Addison's impact will be greater for us on the mound," said Stricklin, "but his athletic ability will be a great asset to us as a position player. He is also a great student."
What will his major be?
"Baseball," joked his father. "He's undecided right now."
About everything but Kent State.
"He just lives and breathes baseball," said Warren Area High School head coach Jeff Passaro. "Any player that works that hard, he deserves it."