---- — HAVERHILL — Potential majors, class size, academic opportunity ... sure they mattered a little to Salem’s Trevor Bouvier.
But choosing Northern Essex Community College after hitting .500 in his injury-shortened spring at Salem High hinged on one thing only.
“Baseball,” said Bouvier, plainly and simply. “I saw how competitive it is here, with them going to the nationals last year, and I knew baseball-wise that’s where I wanted to be.”
A year later, little has changed at Northern Essex. Even with a coaching switch to Jeff Mejia in November, Bouvier and the Knights ran over regional competition and earned a second straight trip to Texas where they will compete in the eight-team Division 3 Junior College World Series.
“We’ve worked all year to get to this point together, and we are looking to prove ourselves,” said Bouvier. “That was the goal all along to get here, and we’ve had a great playoff season. Now, we just have to keep it going.”
Bouvier on baseball hasn’t changed a bit. He remains a talented, fierce competitor at the college level. Starting at shortstop all season long, Bouvier has made all the plays, and at the plate, with the average down a bit (.267), his production is at the top of the charts, leading the team with four homers and second with 24 RBIs. His OPS is a superb .852, earning Bouvier a spot on the All-New England second team.
But it’s off the field, and more specifically academically, where Bouvier has done his best work.
College often separates the pretenders, but with baseball hanging in the balance, there is no way Bouvier would let himself down.
“They offer all kinds of tutoring and small class sizes so you can interact with the professors here and do what has to be done,” said Bouvier. “But you’re on your own here. You have to be motivated to get this done. All I focussed on is baseball, and this gave me a pass to keep playing.”
Bouvier, who had hardly considered his future last spring, is now talking down the road and playing at a four-year college, and NECC is a big reason for that.
“This has shown me how much different things are here than high school,” said Bouvier. “You have to put the work in here. You go out there and play every day with scouts hanging around at these games. You see there’s a future out there, and for me, that future includes baseball.”
The future can wait, though, now for Bouvier. His summer job as a landscaper and painter is currently on hold.
The Knights leave for the eight-team nationals in Tyler, Texas, on Thursday with action commencing Saturday. A year ago, NECC got to within two wins of a national title before bowing out.
“We couldn’t be more excited,” said Bouvier. “We’ve played as a team all year, and that’s what got us here. We overcame having no coach (back in the fall) and we’ve come a long way. I think that says an awful lot about the guys on this baseball team.”
NECC BASEBALL AT NATIONALS For the second straight year Northern Essex Community College baseball is headed to the National Junior College Division 3 Championships in Tyler, Texas. Action in the eight-team tournament begins on Saturday. Local area standouts on the team include: Salem's Trevor Bouvier and Dan Peters, Haverhill's Jonathan DelaCruz, Sanborn grad Tyler Johnson, Timberlane product Alex Mears, Central grad Mike Amaral and Lawrence High's David Quezada.