The Long Island Whalers held their second annual National Letter of Intent Signing Event on Wednesday, November 19, 2014. The ceremony was held at the home of the Whalers, at the BPM Training Center.
A National Letter of Intent is a binding agreement between a prospective student-athlete and an NLI member institution. The colleges and universities are typically compete in Division I and Division II athletics, but there are DIII member schools as well. Although frequently referred to as the NLI Signing Day, the signing periods are open at least a week. If a student-athlete is offered an NLI, then he or she has also been offered aid (in the form of a scholarship) because of their athletic abilities.
The attendees, in alphabetical order, were as follows.
Brandon Alberto, Centereach, Newfield High School, NYIT
Knew he was going to play baseball in college: “When I was 12 years old, I pitched a no-hitter at Baseball Heaven. I was playing for the Middle County Mustangs against the Long Island Spartans. They had kids like Aaron Glickstein and Jon Faraci who are also DI college ballplayers now.”
Interesting fact: “I met Mariano Rivera last year in New York City and got his autograph.”
Luke Aprile, East Rockaway, Lynbrook High School, Hofstra University
Knew he was going to play baseball in college: “I realized I was going to be a Division I baseball player when I was playing a varsity game at Kellenberg my sophomore year. I hit a leadoff triple to deep right centerfield to start the game.
Interesting fact: “I love movies.”
Franklyn Coste, Corona, McClancy High School, Concordia College
Knew he was going to play baseball in college: “When I was ten years old, playing for the Forest Hills Little League against Bayside Little League, I hit my first home run. It was a ‘no-doubter,’ that cleared the fence by 50 feet. After that, we were winning 13-1, but the final score was 13-12.”
Interesting fact: “I met Carlos Santana, We got to spend the entire day with him, picking him up after a his game.”
Matt Feinstein, Old Brookville, Friends Academy, Dartmouth University
Knew he was going to play baseball in college: “We were playing for the North Shore Vikings. in 2008 when Reiss Knehr and I went back-to-back against Diamond Dreams in Rehoboth Beach. We were hyped!”
Interesting fact: “I’m neighbors in Utah with Randy Johnson and our families are close.”
Ryan Gonzales, North Massapequa, St. Dominic High School, Philadelphia University
Knew he was going to play baseball in college: “When I was 12 years old, I hit four home runs in a game. That’s when I knew I could college baseball.”
Interesting fact: “I met Yasiel Puig at Citi Field. This was on my 16th birthday.”
Brandon Harkin, Bellmore, St. Dominic High School, Fairfield University
Knew he was going to play baseball in college: “When I was in Cooperstown, I played for the NBNM Rebels. I pitched against a team called No Fear from California that eventually finished in second place that week, but I won the game against them, allowing only one unearned run in a complete game. It was the summer of 2007 and I was 12 years old.”
Interesting fact: “I met Derek Jeter.”
Reiss Knehr, Glen Head, St. Dominic High School, Fordham University
Knew he was going to play baseball in college: “In the summer of 2008, when Matt Feinstein and I went back-to-back against Diamond Dreams in Rehoboth Beach. It was actually back-to-back pitches. We played for the North Shore Vikings, and they were the #2 team in Maryland.
Interesting fact: “I met David Wright at Shea Stadium and he gave me his bat. It was a great day.”
Salvatore Monello, Bellmore, Mepham High School, Marywood University
Knew he was going to play baseball in college: “When I was a freshman, playing for the Long Island Tigers in Virginia. I pitched a complete game against 17 year old kids from Virginia. I was 14 at the time, but I got the win.
Interesting fact: “I’ve been playing baseball since I was four years old. My first word was ‘ball.” I wear #14 on my jersey because it was my dad’s number when he was growing up.”
Jesse Mulham, Cold Spring Harbor, Cold Spring Harbor High School, Vassar College
Knew he was going to play baseball in college: “When I hit my first homerun with the Whalers, in 2013 in Georgia, I knew that I wanted to pursue baseball in college. Competitive baseball with the Whalers helped me reach my goal when I committed to Vassar College.”
Interesting fact: “Playing baseball in Europe over the summer of 2014, and travelling with my Whalers team across the U.S. were not only the biggest highlights of my baseball career, but of my life as well. I met my future college coach Jon Martin while playing in Europe as well.”
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A student-athlete who receives an NLI is guaranteed a scholarship and an opportunity to represent their college or university. It is an honor and as such, many high school seniors look forward to this day. This particular event was created by Kieran Black, head of college placement for the Whalers.
“For me, it’s an opportunity to give the players and their families a day of recognition and appreciation for what they’ve accomplished,” stated Black. “It also points to what they have to achieve from here. So it’s kind of a monumental crossroad for them.”
Pictures from this event are available here...