Sam Daggers has played football and basketball for Absegami High School, but he feels most “at home” on the baseball diamond.
The junior plans to play baseball in college and recently verbally committed to attending NCAA Division I Wagner University in Staten Island, New York.
“Head coach Jim Carone is what really won me over from day one,” Daggers said in a phone interview last week.
Carone became the coach of Wagner’s baseball program in 2012. He has 111 career victories and is one of four Wagner coaches to reach 100 wins. Last season, Wagner, which plays in the Northeast Conference, was 22-28 overall.
“As soon as I met him I got the feeling that he really wanted me to play on the team and attend the school,” Daggers said. “On my first visit I knew the campus was perfect because it wasn’t too big to where I would get overwhelmed, but not so small that I wouldn’t get the right college experience.”
Daggers plays both outfield and catcher for Absegami and will be focusing on outfield at Wagner. The 16-year-old said baseball is just the sport he loves and feels at home playing.
“Before games I remind myself about going through the fundamentals and prepping to get ready, but as soon I step onto the field I switch and I’m ready to be the best person on the field at the time,” Daggers said. “I’m going to get the job done for my team and there’s no other options.”
The junior received a combination athletic and academic scholarship and has an interest in majoring in business.
“If baseball doesn’t pan out being in a place like Staten Island across the water from Manhattan, I’d like to work for an ad firm and work with other companies,” he said.
But Daggers has two seasons left with Absegami before heading anywhere. The Braves went 11-9 overall last season and were knocked out in the first round of the South Jersey Group III playoffs by Deptford Township in a 6-5 loss.
Coach Brian Wastell said that Daggers is the team leader as a junior and is a very well-rounded athlete.
“He’s very much an old school student athlete. He’s a scholar who happens to also be really great at baseball,” Wastell said.
“We brought him in as a freshmen and kind of threw him in the fire as a varsity catcher. It was a test and he really stepped up. He used his freshmen year as a springboard to work hard. He realized what it means to be a good player and do well in school. He also plays basketball very well, a real multi-sport athlete.”