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Heights' Wynne To Take His Swings at Pace U.

College coach believes they have golden catcher

Just look at Major League Baseball and you can count on one hand, a good hitting and good defensive catcher.

For Pace University head coach Hank Manning he thinks he has one of those at his college as Hasbrouck Heights High School graduate Danny Wynne takes his bat and catcher's glove to the Westchester County, New York school.

For Pace head coach Hank Manning he saw Wynne a few times before his senior year at Hasbrouck Heights and then at Bridgton Academy in Maine, a college prep school.

"I just liked the way he swung a bat and his work as a catcher," said Manning. "Being a catcher, I know the attributes behind the plate. He's a catcher and he can hit which is worth its weight in gold."

After finishing off his high school career the previous spring at Hasbrouck Heights, Wynne went to Bridgton Academy in Maine where he continued working on his catching skills.

He opted to go to the prep school after his senior season was shortened when he missed most of the beginning of the season because of an extensive knee injury that did not allow him to play catcher at Hasbrouck Heights.

Wynne said that it took a little time to get back to catching at Bridgton. "My skills were all there and I wanted to get back into it," said the Hasbrouck Heights grad.

Going to school in Maine was definitely a culture shock. "It was a little difficult because the school is in the middle of nowhere," said Wynne who though added. "I had to learn how to grow up."

Pace was one of the schools that was interested in him before the injury and were still interested after his spent the last year at Bridgton Academy.

It seems to have helped as he worked extensively with his catching duties and said that he is fit to take on the rigors of college baseball.

"My offense has always been there so I was working more on my defense," said Wynne. "I was working on my movement side to side which was not good as it is now."

Wynne's trek to Pace started a few years ago when he was playing at Paramus Catholic. He played three seasons for the Paladins and then transferred to Hasbrouck Heights.

Unfortunately he tore his ACL and his meniscus in his knee while trying out for football at Heights in his senior year. He wound up being out for almost nine months. In addition Wynne had to sit out 30 days before hitting the diamond so he only had a short amount of time on the field in his senior year.

In a short period of time, Wynne was able to help the Aviators to the Group 1 North 1 state sectional semi-finals before losing to Emerson. In addition he was named to the All North Jersey Interscholastic Conference honorable mention list.

During that run Wynne had a hot bat including going 4-for-4 with two home runs and six RBI in the upset victory over Midland Park in the state playoff opener in 2011.

And the Hasbrouck Heights grad would continue to show his power at Bridgton Academy as he helped Bridgton to a couple of rounds in the fall playoffs before losing to Fairfield University, a NCAA Division 1 school. In the two playoff games Wynne scored three runs and smacked a two-run home run.

And one of the things that he liked about Pace was that they play with a wood bat.

Wynne remembers when he played for his dad several summers ago and traveled to Georgia where he used a wood bat.

So while almost all of the college baseball programs have gone from the old aluminum bats to the BBCOR bats, Wynne liked how Pace University played with good old wood bats.

And he can't wait for fall baseball in September and then March for the start of spring baseball.

And Pace was always on his mind as he made a visit to the school before going to Bridgton. "I like the kids and they treated me nice," said Wynne who chose Pace over the University of Rhode Island. "I liked the atmosphere."

He especially liked Manning, a Rutherford native who is also a former catcher. "He is a tough coach and a coach that can handle his team," said Wynne.

The Heights grad also liked several aspects of the Pace campus. "Pace is a small school and I like how close it is to the city," said Wynne. "It has a pretty cool atmosphere."

In addition to catching, Wynne said that he is looking to play third base while also throwing in some time at designated hitter.

For the Hasbrouck Heights native he can't wait to continue improving the Setters program that went 29-19 last season including the school's first Northeast 10 Southwest division championship.

tmdbbkw August 16, 2012 at 01:45 AM
Way to go Danny!

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