Mercyhurst University has a new baseball player.
Warren Area High School senior Collin Fantaskey signed his letter of intent Wednesday night to join the Division II Lakers next fall.
"I really fell in love with the coaching staff and what they had to offer for me. They were offering me a chance to compete for a position my first year, which was good," Fantaskey said.
Times Observer photo by Kiley Fischer
The dotted line
Warren senior Collin Fantaskey, front row, second from right, signs his letter of intent to play baseball at Mercyhurst University next year. Accompanying Fantaskey is brother Tyler, mother Beth, father Todd, and Warren coaches Rick Eaton and Andy Teconchuk.
"We consider him an athlete with the potential to play several different positions and maybe someday pitch as well," said Mercyhurst baseball head coach Joe Spano. "We love his attitude and work ethic. He is a perfect fit for our program."
Collegiate baseball is a dream Fantaskey has been working towards since his tee-ball days.
"Since I was probably twelve, I've been looking at playing collegiately and actually started thinking it was possible," Fantaskey said. "These last couple years, playing all summer and going to tournaments and showcases, it's really taken off for me."
The work Fantaskey has put in certainly shows. In the Dragons's 2012 D-10 championship win, Fantaskey contributed a key pinch hit and was one of only two underclassmen to enter the game. This past spring, he was named the Region 7 first-team utility player after leading Warren's batting average (.429), hits (33) and home runs (3). His 15 RBI was second on the team and he finished 4-2 on the mound.
"We have great respect for the Warren baseball program and after seeing how Hank Morrison has developed and how hard he works it made the decision to recruit Collin even easier," Spano said.
Morrison - a 2012 graduate of Warren - was a starter in 37 games for the Lakers as a freshman in 2013.
Collin isn't the only Fantaskey boy playing college sports. His brother, Tyler, plays basketball for Pitt Bradford.
And brothers will be brothers.
"We've always had a sort of brotherly competition between us. He does his thing at Pitt Bradford and he does very well there. I'm hoping to live up to his name over at Mercyhurst," Collin said.
"They've competed in everything throughout the years. I'm sure it'll continue," said Collin and Tyler's father, Todd Fantaskey. "It's kind of nice they're in different sports, though."
The competitive edge doesn't run overboard.
"Even though they're very competitive, they're very supportive and encouraging of each other in their individual sports," said mother Beth Fantaskey.
Athletics aside, the choice wasn't an easy one. Fantaskey also looked at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, Seton Hill University and potentially joining his brother at Pitt Bradford.
But when Mercyhurst also had the Intelligence Studies major Fantaskey was looking for, everything fell into place.
And while Spano is impressed with Fantaskey's baseball ability, Fantaskey wasn't the only one looking at the academic side of things.
"We think Collin is a very special student-athlete. We recruited him because first and foremost he is an excellent student," Spano said.
"It seemed like all the stars lined up for him," Todd said. "The fit with the academic program that he was interested in and baseball, and something that wasn't too far away. Once he spent a night at campus, it all fell into place."
But Collin hasn't lost sight of the rest of his high school career. He has high goals set in place for his final year.
"We're returning most of our starters from last season when we lost in the District 10 championship game. Really as a team, we'd like to win the District 10 championship this year and make a run at states."