NORWALK, Conn. Brien McMahon baseball player Bryan Daniello initially believed he might be heading to a college in the south. But a tour of the University of Connecticut, where he would have an opportunity to help the Huskies further establish a first-rate program, changed his thinking.
Daniello signed a letter-of-intent Wednesday to play at UConn, which advanced to its first NCAA Super Regional in June. Two Huskies were selected in the first round of Junes Major League baseball draft. In all, nine Huskies were selected in the draft.
During my freshman and sophomore year, I wanted to go where it was warm, Daniello said. I thought about it more and its nice to be representing your home state. Even though its not the greatest weather, UConn has some great facilities.
Daniellos family, McMahon baseball coach John Cross and Babe Ruth and American Legion coaches Tim Hefferan and Gerald Anastasia joined him for the signing. Flanked by his mother, Cheryl, and father, Tony, Daniello signed to become the first McMahon player to attend UConn in 16 years. Willie Mercado, who graduated from McMahon in 1995, also played at UConn.
Daniello hit .432 for the Senators last year with three home runs, 16 RBIs and 20 stolen bases. He was named to the Class LL All-State team and was named the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference Player of the Year. He is one base away from becoming the schools all-time leader in stolen bases and already owns the school record for triples with nine. Daniello is expected to play in the infield for UConn. He also pitches and plays the outfield for the Senators.
He had tons of talent, said his brother, Anthony, who helped his younger brothers baseball development and played college baseball at North Carolina-Wilmington. The key for him was developing the mental aspect. You can have all the tools in the world, but it takes a lot of mental strength to bring it to the next level.
Daneillo has played on some of Norwalk's best young teams. He helped the 13-year-old Babe Ruth team reach the New England Regional in 2007, and the 14-year-old Babe Ruth squad reach the Babe Ruth World Series. As a 15-year-old, he played for the Babe Ruth team that reached the New England tournament and helped the American Legion team win the Zone 4 district title.
Bryan has been on the radar of college coaches for a while. He jumped off the page during the summer when he played for a premier team called the Baseball U Prospects. He impressed college scouts with a strong performance at a tournament in New Jersey. St. Johns was also interested, and seemed his likely destination. That ws before he went to UConn and met with coach Jim Penders.
On our way home from a tournament in Boston we stopped for the UConn visit, Daniello said. A lot of colleges really started to call. When I left after the visit with UConn, I knew that was where I wanted to be.
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