Stonington — Luke Foster always dreamed of playing college baseball in a warm-weather state such as Florida. Not necessarily New Haven.
But when Foster made an overnight visit to the University of New Haven, there was something he felt was "perfect" about it.
Recently, Foster, a right-handed pitcher at Stonington High School, committed to play next season for New Haven, receiving a partial scholarship.
Foster, who helped lead the Bears into the semifinals of the Class M state tournament, was 5-3 with a 2.51 earned run average last year and was named an All-Eastern Connecticut Conference pick and a second team All-Area selection by The Day.
"There's nothing I love more than baseball," said Foster, who was on the field with his teammates for the first day of baseball tryouts Monday at Stonington. "It was great to be back with my coaches and my teammates. Everybody's real excited. We can't wait for the first game.
"... Ever since I was a little kid I thought about getting out of New England and playing in the warm weather every day, but after I went for my overnight visit, I didn't want to leave. The team members all seemed to have the same interests as me, a love for baseball. Something in me thought, 'This is right for me.'"
New Haven is coached by Chris Celano and currently ranked 10th in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers' Association East Region Poll.
"He's been starting on my team since he was a freshman," Stonington coach Duffy Grace said of Foster. "He's a hard-throwing kid and he's got great command. He's a smart kid and he works very hard at it. You're happy any time you see a kid get to realize his dream to play at the next level. He's going to get a good education and he's going to excel pitching, too."
• Bacon Academy, fresh off its 38-34 upset of E.O. Smith in Saturday's Class L state championship game, finished third in the final New Haven Register media/coaches' poll. The Bobcats (22-3), who were unranked in the final regular season poll, received one first-place vote and 382 points, finishing behind No. 1 Newtown, the Class LL champion, and No. 2 Weaver, the Class M winner.
In the final boys' poll, Class LL semifinalist New London finished fourth with 408 points and Class M champion Waterford (25-2) went from unranked to No. 8. New London (24-3) was ranked No. 1 in the final regular season poll.
Class M semifinalist Ledyard (20-7) also received votes and Class LL champion St. Joseph (25-1) finished No. 1.
• Mitchell College's Shannen Pelletier was named New England Collegiate Conference Player of the Week.
Pelletier led the Mariners with a .333 batting average over four games last week at the Gene Cusic Classic in Fort Myers, Fla. A senior outfielder, Pelletier finished the stretch with three hits and three RBI, scored three runs and also drew two walks. Mitchell is 1-7.