DANVERS — The St. John’s baseball team grooms its players for the college diamond. Year in and year out, the Eagles produce Division I commits who are ready to contribute at the next level. Now it’s time to make room for one more on the list.
St. John’s senior pitcher/outfielder Chris Rassias announced last Thursday that he has committed to join the baseball team at Division I Holy Cross. Rassias will join former St. John’s Prep infielder Andrew Selima, who completed his freshman season with the Crusaders this spring.
“Holy Cross has always been on my radar,” Rassias, a North Andover native, said. “I’ve admired it for years. Traveling to my grandmother’s house in Western Mass., I always drove by Holy Cross and the baseball field. I always said, ‘I want to play there someday.’ It reminded me of St. John’s.”
Rassias said he stayed in touch with Selima and Crusaders head coach Greg DiCenso through the recruiting process.
“Coach DiCenso told me there’s a funky, football player kind of vibe on the team,” Rassias, a right-hander, said. “It’s a tough bunch of kids but they win with class. I have a friend on the team, Andrew, and I’ve known him since kindergarten.
“Holy Cross has a lot to offer,” Rassias said. “It’s a good business school. I’m looking to major in business. Coach DiCenso works with the pitchers and I really like the head coach-pitcher kind of bond. He pitched in college too so being around the head coach is something that’ll be great for me.”
With gearing up for the college diamond, Rassias will have to make adjustments along the way. He feels as though the coaching staff as St. John’s, as well as the competition he has matched up against in the stacked Catholic Conference and Super 8 tournaments, has helped prepare him for what he’ll see at the Division I level.
“I really feel that St. John’s has prepared me well,” Rassias said. “The coaches have always said, ‘Of course we want to win the Super 8 but we want you to be ready to play college baseball.’ Talking to guys playing in college now, they’re already leaders. They play during their freshman seasons. I feel I have the skills to compete right now, I just have to refine those skills.”
Rassias said his junior season, in which he went 2-1 with a 2.61 ERA, was a step in the right direction, setting the state for a standout senior campaign next spring. He gained confidence in himself as his junior season took its course.
“At the start of the season, I wasn’t sure how things were going to go,” Rassias said. “I was always confident in myself. Later on in the season, I feel I got more time and things went well. I think next year will be a huge jump for me. I’ve talked to college coaches and they’ve shown me a lot. I’m never satisfied with any performance. I feel next year will be the new me in a good way.”
Rassias is the fourth member of St. John’s 2019 senior class to commit to a Division I college program. He joins catcher/first baseman Alex Lane (Bryant), Lynn native and pitcher Max Gieg (Boston College) and pitcher Sean Letarte (UMass Lowell). Rassias believes the Eagles are in a good position to make another Super 8 run next season.
“We have a great team every year but this year’s something special,” Rassias said. “We haven’t won a Super 8 yet. This being our senior year, I know we want to win really badly. The goal is to win a Super 8. We have a tight-knit family, almost like a brotherhood. I really feel we’re going to go very far and with this Super 8.”