As fall ball has come to a close at Youngstown State University, I caught up with one of my athletes, Anthony Santoro to reflect on his college career. We discussed the demanding lifestyle that comes with playing D1 baseball, and what’s next as he starts his new journey at Youngstown State University.
Anthony Santoro began his college baseball career at Canisius College where he soon transferred to Monroe Community College in Rochester, NY. In 2016 at Monroe, Anthony posted a .364 batting average, hit 2 home runs, drove in 26 runs, scored 39 runs, stole 6 bases, and thus lead his team to the NJCAA Division II World Series. Anthony also played for the Hornell Dodgers of New York Collegiate Baseball League this past summer and finished batting .300.
I want to start by you telling everyone your back story. How did you get to this point in your career?
Anthony: Out of high school I was not considered a “top recruit” if you will. I had a few offers from some schools and Canisius just seemed like it was going to be the best fit. When I got there I realized very quickly it was not. As a 17-year-old freshman I felt like I was not ready to be there. Along with the fact I felt like I was expected to do things I clearly was not ready for. There were some other issues that went on with myself and other individuals that made me realize it was not the place for me. I choose to not discuss those individuals when I am asked about Canisius because I am humbled by that experience at this point. I decided to transfer to Monroe Community College which happened to be the best decision of my athletic career. I had to red shirt the first year I was there to make up for the credits lost and to get back on track to graduate. My red shirt sophomore year was a break out year. I worked my tail off to get to the point where I was the starting catcher and batted in the upper .300’s. This earned me a significant division 1 scholarship to Youngstown State University where I will complete my last two years. I am looking forward to opening up at Austin Peay and finishing that trip with Georgia Tech. I am also looking forward to seeing that particular individual on the diamond when we play Canisius in the spring. If somehow he was able to read this, I want to thank him for giving me the fire to continue my dream and opportunity that I was never given my freshman year. April 25th at Canisius will be a day for me that has made all of my hard work since I left Canisius pay off. I think the most successful and hungry college athletes have all had to deal with something that makes them hungry throughout their career, and I am glad I was able to share this story with you guys; hopefully inspiring you to keep a chip on your shoulder and stay hungry throughout your athletic careers.
Talk about the recruiting process as you have been through it a couple times. What would you say to seniors in high school who are trying to decide between playing JUCO, D1,D2, or D3 baseball?
Anthony: To seniors in high school that are not being recruited by division 1 or 2 programs, my best advice is to attend junior college. Junior college is a great start in getting your feet wet into college baseball. If you are a division 3 player out of high school, going to junior college could turn you into a division 1 or 2 ball player in those two years, (Especially Monroe CC)!
Many kids don’t realize how being a D1 baseball player is a full time job. Take us through your day from when you wake up till you go to bed.
Anthony: Four times a week we wake up at 5:00am for team lifts and conditioning, so I will walk you through one of those days.
5:00am: Wake up
9:00am: Study Hall
2:00pm-3:00pm: Study Hall
6:30pm-7:00pm: Extra swings (optional)
7:30pm-Bed-Time: Dinner and Homework
Wake up the next day and do it all over again, and enjoy every second of it because at any given day it can be taken away from you. Always remember that there are millions of other kids that would love to be in your shoes as a prospective college athlete.
How hard do you have to work on a daily basis to be a top D1 catcher? What does it take?
Anthony: Every single day is an absolute grind. In my eyes, the catcher should be the hardest worker in the weight room, on the turf for conditioning, and on the diamond. We get our pitching machine out daily before anyone else is on the field and get our receiving, blocking and footwork drills in. The catcher should be the hungriest man on the field.
How has your strength training evolved over the years?
Anthony: Strength training has helped me and every other athlete who takes it seriously immensely throughout the course of my athletic career. It takes your game to the next level. The past couple years I have been fortunate enough to train specifically for baseball with Simone’s Baseball performance. You have opened my mind up to new exercises that have made me stronger, faster, and more flexible as an athlete.
Who or What can you credit your hard work to?
Anthony: Without a doubt I would have to credit all of my hard work to my father. The most important thing he has ever told me was, “you never know who is watching”. To this day I take that to heart. My family have been my biggest fans throughout my entire life.
Rapid Fire Questions!
Favorite Pre Game meal? Afternoon games I like to go with an egg white western omelet with toast and fruit, and a few cups of black coffee to get me fired up. A night game my favorite pre game meal would have to be grilled chicken with barbecue sauce, rice, and some type of green vegetable.
Go to Walk up song? Crazy Train; Reed Street Remix
Favorite exercise you do with me? Chained Squats
Least favorite exercise you’ve done with me? Non-existent. They all hurt, and make it worth it in the long run.
Favorite cheat meal? Any type of Italian food, chocolate ice cream.
Goals for 2016-2017 season? My goals for the upcoming season are to be behind the plate as many games possible, help my team offensively and defensively to the point where we can win a Horizon League championship.