Waverly's Gutierrez signs with Southern New Hampshire
When Waverly's Dylan Gutierrez started looking at colleges to play baseball his choices were all Division I schools.
It had been his goal, it had been what he always thought he was going to do.
"It was kind of between Radford, WVU (West Virginia University) and Cincinnati," Gutierrez said. "This school called and we went up there and it was really nice. I liked it immediately."
The school was Southern New Hampshire University.
It was a place that Gutierrez had never even heard of, but now it is where he will be playing baseball next year.
"Most of the guys they bring in throw around 84 or 85 and they get them up to the 90s," Gutierrez said. "Luckily I already throw that and I think they will work and get me even higher.
"And, another key is they will give me the chance to be a pitcher and a catcher."
Once Gutierrez started looking into Southern New Hampshire, he realized what the school had to offer.
While it's not a Division I school, the Penmen reached the Division II College World Series last season.
"When I looked at the big picture this isn't DI, but this school is DII and has been ranked as high as No. 2 in the country last year," Gutierrez said.
And, it's an opportunity to step in and play right away.
"What they said is they are looking for a freshman catcher who can come in and play and a freshman closer/reliever," Gutierrez said.
One of the things about the Northeast 10 Conference that Southern New Hampshire plays in is that they are a wood bat league which will help in getting pro scouts to see players.
"With this wood bat league you have a lot of scouts that come to see how the hitters do with that," Gutierrez said. "As a pitcher, it will probably help me some, as a hitter it will probably be a little bit harder."
Last year, Southern New Hampshire had a player drafted in the 17th round and another sign as a free agent with a major league organization. The year before, the team had a player drafted in the 31st round.
Getting drafted one day is a goal for Gutierrez and knowing that the school has had other players get drafted gives him some added confidence.
"It's a big thing, it's one of the goals," he said.
Had he gone to a Division I school Gutierrez knows he would have been a pitcher and likely been done hitting, something he was preparing for.
"I was prepared for it," he said. "It wouldn't have made too much of a difference. The thing I like about this school is they really, really wanted me."
The school showed how much they wanted Gutierrez by giving him more money than any other school was offering.
"They are giving me more money than they have ever given one player before and that's something they have made sure I know," Gutierrez said.
And Southern New Hampshire will give him the chance to pitch and catch.
"Both coaches are on each other, one thinks I will make it as a catcher, the other thinks I will make it as a closer," Gutierrez said.
And, that gives the Waverly senior a chance to get to college and see how he does as a hitter and a pitcher before a decision is made.
"They said basically freshman year we will figure it out," he said. "We will see what it looks like is working better for me. If I'm pitching better I will pitch, if I'm hitting better, I'll hit. If I'm pitching well and hitting well then I'll probably pitch and be a DH or something when I'm not pitching."
Gutierrez knows that Southern New Hampshire has come a long way in the past few years.
"Four years ago the team had seven wins and now they are this many games over .500 (43-15 last year) and they made it to the College World Series," he said.
And, that success is something that Gutierrez likes.
"It's one of the big things, I'm used to being on winning teams," he said. "I like to win and I want to help this team win."
For Gutierrez, the idea of playing in New Hampshire was something that never was on his mind when he started looking at schools.
"The big adjustment is going North instead of South," he said. "I was looking south at first, but then it came down to more North schools with West Virginia, Cincinnati and Radford, which at least is in Virginia. It's different that I ended up north.
"I was surprised they even found out about me, they got my name from a Kansas City Royals scout from Athens, Jimmy Farr, he gave them my name."