LYNNFIELD — Add the name Jonathan Luders to an ever-growing the list of Lynnfield High athletes who will continue their playing careers at the Division I level.
Luders made it official earlier this month when he signed a NCAA letter of intent to play baseball at Seton Hall.
Luders made a verbal commitment as a sophomore after an unofficial visit to the New Jersey school’s campus.
“My first visit was the summer of my sophomore year when I was playing a summer tournament nearby with The Academy,” Luders said. “Coach (Rob) Sheppard saw me play and he contacted my coach, and encouraged me to visit the campus. I visited that August and loved the campus, loved the coach, and loved the turf field, which is similar to ours. I got to meet some of the players and they were very cool. I just loved the culture down there.”
Luders also considered Fairleigh Dickinson, but Seton Hall was a better fit, especially with academics.
“I want to study something health-related and maybe become a doctor or sports psychologist,” said Luders. “I just think Seton Hall offers me the best, not only when it comes to baseball, but in terms of my career plans.”
Luders singled out Lynnfield coach John O’Brien for helping him navigate the search process.
“I am blessed to play for such a great, caring guy who helps all of his players when it comes to college selection,” Luders said. “He cares as a coach and as a person and when it comes to baseball, he brings out the best in every player and knows how to win. I 100 percent discussed the whole thing and he saw it through from start to finish.”
”His going Division I means to a lot to me and to the Lynnfield program,” O’Brien said. ”This is a kid who just loves the game and loves life. I’m happy he found his Division I spot and will get a chance to play and get a good education. It’s a win for everyone, for all, for the team, for the program and for the school.”
For Luders, going full speed, no matter what the activity, is not an option, he said.
“I play with every sport with passion, I just love the game of baseball and will do whatever it takes to win,” Luders said. “You have to have respect for anything you do, and I think I learned that from my mom and dad for bringing me and my sister April up the right way. There are many things you can’t control, but I can always control who I am as a person.”
Luders is coming off a successful season with the boys soccer team, which advanced to the Division 3 North sectional final. Luders was named the Cape Ann League Kinney Division Player of the Year and also received the team Player of the Year Award. He finished the season as the Pioneers’ leading scorer with 14 goals and 21 assists.
A high honor roll student member of the National Honor Society, Luders was recruited as a shortstop.
“Their starting shortstop was a senior, but I will play anywhere I can to get playing time,” Luders said.
For now, Luders said he is focused on preparing for the Pioneers’ spring season.
“I’ll be working out all winter to be in shape for baseball,” Luders he said. “We have an awesome team coming back, obviously we are losing some great seniors, but this is it for the new seniors, so we are all in. We had such a great run last year when nobody expected it from us, and there is no reason why we can’t do the same and even go one better and win a North title.”