---- — It’s no secret, Boston College baseball has fallen on some hard times recently.
A program that under the likes of Pete Hughes and Mik Aoki poured out pro prospects and took its hacks with the heavy hitters in the Big East and ACC has slid to the bottom ... most likely because the Eagles lost their grip on recruiting New England.
Thomas Lane is ready to help change all that.
“It’s something I thought a lot about during the process,” said Georgetown’s Lane, who will enter his junior year at Phillips Andover in the fall. “I wouldn’t be going there if it was a place where I didn’t think we could be successful. I’m very comfortable with the fact that there is a bright future there.
“I think we can go a long way to turning things around.”
Lane, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound right-hander, became the second pitcher in the Big Blue class of 2015 to commit to accept a scholarship package from BC coach Mike Gambino. He joins fellow Phillips flame thrower Tim Salvadore of Westport.
Phillips coach Kevin Graber beamed when he first heard the news.
“Thomas Lane is a part of a group of kids who we kept on varsity as ninth graders and brought along slowly,” said Graber, who has nursed them young stars along while winning a pair of Central New England Prep titles. “And while we’ve brought him along slowly, he’s just developed into a 6-foot-4, 220-pound, beast of a right-handed pitcher with a near 90 mph fastball and a hammer of a slider.
“He’s developed into a true Division 1 prospect, maybe even a pro. His arm action is free and easy. The ball comes out effortlessly and it’s all kind of come together in a perfect storm of mechanics, effort, work ethic ... At 6-4, 220, he definitely looks the part. He’s pretty imposing.”
A lifelong New Englander, Lane made BC his first choice for an unofficial visit, based on the school’s position in the ACC and its academic reputation.
That was back in June.
“I pretty much knew right then it was the place to be,” said Lane, who delayed the commitment while playing a rigorous summer schedule with Legends Baseball and mixing in trips to various schools along the East Coast.
“It’s been a hectic and busy summer. When I wasn’t playing, I see looking at schools. I knew I really loved (BC), but I hadn’t seen any other schools. After seeing them, I’m realized BC was where I want to be.”
A spot starter and reliever this spring, Lane waited his turn for the Big Blue.
“He threw the ball well for us,” said Graber, who named Lane as his starter in the finale against rival Exeter just to give the young horse a taste of what the future holds. “He pitched well, throwing 83 or 84 all year. But this summer, he made an amazing jump. He’s up throwing 86 or 87 now (touching 89).”
Academically, Graber says Lane will be more than up to the challenge at The Heights.
“Andover is extremely rigorous, he’s at that ‘A’ level,” said Graber. “As far as academics, he’s competing at that high level. He’s a day student, but he’s just grown so involved in campus life here. He’s impacted this community in so many other ways than baseball.”
Impact is something at Lane expects to do at BC, come the fall of 2015.
“I take most pride in being competitive on the mound,” said Lane. “I’m definitely excited about the opportunity to show it.”