Holy Spirit High School junior Shane Solari announced last week a verbal commitment to Villanova University on a partial athletic scholarship for baseball.
“I’m looking to play a corner outfield position,” said Solari, of Brigantine. “Either left or right (field), it doesn’t really matter to me.”
Solari plays right field for Holy Spirit but moves around on his travel team.
He had narrowed his options down to the Philadelphia suburb school and St. John’s (Queens, New York), both NCAA Division I teams in the Big East Conference.
The Wildcats were 13-38 last season. They are coached by Kevin Mulvey, who has been there the last two seasons.
“I just really preferred Villanova’s campus over St. John’s, and I felt I had a better chance to succeed at Villanova, on and off the field,” Solari said.
Solari has been playing baseball since starting in tee-ball at age 6.
“I’ve been playing as long as I can remember,” he said. “I like going out there and having fun with my friends, trying to win games.”
Solari trains at the Baseball Performance Center in Pleasantville and is part of its travel showcase team.
“My favorite place I ever played was probably down in Ft. Myers, Florida,” he said.
Holy Spirit baseball coach Jason Downey says Solari leads by example.
“He’s gritty. He does all the little things right,” Downey said. “He’s exactly what you want at a very high level like Villanova. He’s a total team guy. In the weight room, in the classroom, he’s got an extreme work ethic. I couldn’t be happier for him.”
With two high school seasons left, Solari has plenty to do before college.
“I’m really looking forward to the high school season, hopefully getting a conference championship and getting to state,” Solari said. “One thing I’m definitely going to work on is my foot speed. That’s one of the main things ... in this off season.”
Holy Spirit was 15-8 overall last season, including 9-1 in the Cape-Atlantic League United Division.
Solari batted .400 with 22 hits, four doubles, two triples, six RBIs, 16 runs scored and four stolen bases.
“We’re going to lean heavy on him in the next two years to be a big part of our lineup and our outfield,” Downey said.