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Prep’s Yarin will play Division I baseball at UConn

Mike Yarin helped lead the Eagles to three Division 1A "Super 8" tournament appearances. (Item File Photo)

During his three seasons on the St. John’s Prep baseball team, Mike Yarin emerged as one of the most feared hitters in the Catholic Conference. Yarin, who graduated from St. John’s this past spring, helped lead the Eagles to three consecutive Division 1A “Super 8” tournament appearances.

Now Yarin will hope to carry that success over to Division I UConn, where he’ll join the Huskies baseball team. Yarin reached out to UConn during the summer and things came together just in time for the St. John’s product to join the Huskies for the 2019 spring season.

“The baseball program at UConn is great,” Yarin, a Winchester native, said. “A lot of people don’t know too much about it for some reason. It’s a baseball school. They have a great basketball program. It’s a great school, I love the school and I know some kids who go there and have said good things. It felt like the right fit.”

Yarin’s journey to UConn wasn’t the smoothest of paths. His original plan was to continue his baseball career with the Huskies but a change of heart took place when he felt he wanted to pursue a college football career instead.

“It’s almost like I was set on baseball for a while,” Yarin said. “When it was getting close to the end of my football career I felt like I wanted to keep doing it.”

The college football plan took a turn for the worse for Yarin when he injured himself during the fall season. Yarin suffered a torn labrum in his right shoulder, his throwing shoulder, while attempting to make a tackle playing the safety position for the Eagles.

Surgery would’ve forced Yarin, who also played quarterback, to miss his senior baseball season, so he opted to postpone the procedure. Normally an infielder, Yarin spent the 2018 baseball season as St. John’s designated hitter.

The injury didn’t affect him too much during baseball season, Yarin said.

“The big thing is physical contact and when I’d throw,” Yarin said. “With just hitting, there was no problem. There wasn’t much pain. The issue was with contact during football. It didn’t affect me much at the plate. I had a good season and finished up pretty well at the plate.”

High expectations were always the norm for Yarin during his high school athletic career. He aided the Eagles to a 17-7 finish in 2018. St. John’s finished short of bringing home a “Super 8” championship when the Eagles were bounced from the loser’s bracket by Walpole.

“This year we didn’t go as far but I really liked the team this year,” Yarin said. “We accomplished a lot, we all got along and we treated one another really well. Even though we didn’t go as far as we wanted to, I was proud of how we did this year.”

Yarin credited St. John’s coach Dan Letarte for helping him develop throughout his high school baseball career.

“I love playing for him and everyone else that plays for him does too,” Yarin said. “It’s great playing for him because you trust him. He’s one of the best coaches I’ve had and I love the guy. I only have good things to say about him.”

Yarin foresees plenty of challenges and adjustments to be made in jumping from the high school diamond to the college field. Despite the changes in level of competition, Yarin said he’ll be prepared.

“The competition definitely jumps,” Yarin said. “It’s good pitchers every day, day in and day out. We saw great pitchers at the Prep, (Mike) Vasil at BC High and a few others at Walpole. In the past, we saw some great pitchers at St. John’s (Shrewsbury). Facing pitchers like that helped prepare me. I’m not too worried about the jump. I’ll have to work hard but I’ll definitely be prepared.”

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