Barry Buchowski has been an integral part of the St. Augustine Prep baseball team since he was a freshman.
It's only fitting that the senior will have a similar opportunity in college. Buchowski, a catcher, verbally committed Wednesday to play baseball for Tulane University.
Buchowski visited the school's New Orleans campus last week. During the visit, Buchowski said, coach Rick Jones and his staff told him he would likely have the opportunity to play immediately.
"That was a key part of my decision," said Buchowski, 19, who lives in Moorestown, Burlington County. "Wherever I ended up, I would like to have an impact as a freshman. It's an extreme honor to be thought of that highly, and to be able to step on the field and play as a freshman."
Buchowski, a second-team Press All-Star in 2012, has been the Hermits' starting catcher through three seasons that included a state Non-Public A title in 2011. He will attend Tulane on partial athletic and academic scholarships.
"He was instrumental in our state championship run," St. Augustine coach Mike Bylone said. "He's a kid that's worked very hard. He's a pleasure to coach. He's very dedicated to his studies and staying in shape."
Buchowski is the fourth current Hermit to commit to play baseball in college. Chris Oakley and Joe Gatto will attend the University of North Carolina. Christian Adorno will play NCAA Division II baseball at the University of Wilmington.
Tulane was 38-20 last spring. The Green Wave posted a 14-10 Conference-USA record. Buchowski was the 13th high school senior to commit to Tulane this recruiting year.
Bylone said he tells all of his players to visit schools that interest them.
"They have to go see the school. See the school, see if you like it and if everything works out, that's where you should go," Bylone said. "He fell in love with the place."
It was Buchowski's visit to Tulane last week that sold him on becoming a member of the Green Wave. He also considered Miami, North Carolina State and Villanova.
Buchowski said he was pleased with Tulane's entire package - a good baseball program, solid academics and the chance to play baseball in the South.
"From when I first walked onto the campus, the coaching staff and players were very welcoming and hospitable," Buchowski said. "It made me feel very comfortable."
Buchowski can sign his national letter of intent on April 17.
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