Holy Spirit High School junior Brandon Castellini still has two seasons of high school baseball remaining, but he’s already making plans for the future.
The standout third baseman has committed to NCAA Division I St. John’s University. He will sign his National Letter of Intent in September.
“It felt really good,” Castellini said, “to be that young and be able to say, ‘I have an offer, and I committed to a Division I baseball school.’”
The 16-year-old from Vineland batted .260 with 20 RBIs and three home runs as a sophomore. He also went 3-1 as a pitcher with two one-hitters, one no-hitter and 23 strikeouts.
According to him, the decision to go to St. John’s, in Queens, New York, was a relatively easy one.
“(With) the environment there and the coaching, it was a great experience,” Castellini said. “They almost made me feel like family when I went there.”
The junior added that due to his faith, being at a Catholic institution like St. John’s was another motivation.
The combination of his size and baseball IQ is what truly makes the 6-foot-3, 215-pound Castellini special, Holy Spirit baseball coach Jason Downey said.
“He understood certain situations (and) where to be on the field,” Downey said of Castellini as a freshman. “Most kids at that age (are raw talents).”
His sophomore season included several memorable moments, including a walk-off home run against Buena Regional on April 9 and a go-ahead homer in the sixth inning against Buena on May 14.
When he graduates in 2020, Castellini will join a program that has won at least 40 games in each of the past two seasons. Last season, St. John’s won the Big East championship with a 7-0 shutout against Seton Hall.
For the Holy Spirit junior, however, that day can’t come fast enough.
“I’d walk to the school right now and play for them,” Castellini said about the Red Storm. “That’s how serious I am about this school.”
In his 24th season St. John’s coach, Ed Blankmeyer has led the team to 11 NCAA Tournament appearances. The Red Storm took a 1-5 record into Sunday’s game at the University of San Diego. Their staff ace is Sean Mooney, an Ocean City High School graduate. Mooney, a junior, is regarded as one of the best collegiate pitches in the country and a likely MLB draft pick in June.