Carmel baseball hits a D1 trifecta

Varsity athletes commit to college


@CarmelCorsairs Twitter

Three seniors sign to play baseball in college.

It’s the bottom of the ninth for senior baseball players being recruited for college. In December, baseball is not at the forefront of people’s minds. Postseason ended in October and with snow on the ground, spring seems years away. Although Carmel’s baseball team won’t hit the field again for another four months, three of its seniors already know where they’ll be next year.

The opportunity to play baseball after high school is not only a dream but also a very real and imminent future for these three athletes. On November 11, catcher Cooper Johnson, pitcher and outfielder Joe Santoro, and shortstop Matt Collins all signed to play Division 1 college baseball.


Out of the Park – Out of the Country 

Cooper Johnson, committed to University of Mississippi, is a nationally ranked catcher. When the Carmel students were going to school this September, Johnson was in Japan playing for the USA Baseball 18U National Team and winning the 2015 Baseball World Cup.

Since he was a little boy, Johnson dreamed of playing in the Southeastern Conference for college baseball. As his college options heated up the summer before his junior year, Johnson narrowed his list down to three schools: Florida, Arkansas, and Mississippi. After meeting the Ole Miss coaching staff, Johnson knew that was the right school for him.

The University of Mississippi’s coaches approached Carmel’s catcher at a tournament and noted how Johnson impressed them. “They said they loved my leadership, passion, and play style.”

An impressive campus visit sealed the deal for Johnson. “I didn’t want to leave,” he said. “That’s when I knew Ole Miss was for me.”

I’m most excited to begin my adult life doing something that brings a sense of fulfillment, but I’m scared of the sacrifice that comes with joining the military.”

— Joe Santoro


G.I. Joe 

The day college applications are due to the time that seniors must finalize their school decision spans about eight months. As a junior, pitcher and outfielder Joe Santoro took the same amount of time to accept the offer to play at West Point Military Academy.

Santoro is thinking about his future‒his baseball career but also his post-college career. Not only did Santoro commit to play collegiate, D1 baseball but he also committed to serve in the United States Army.

He says he is excited about his choice and about what this decision means for his life after college, but admits he’s a bit nervous. “I’m scared of the sacrifice that comes with joining the military,” Santoro said.

However, he says he intends to see through whatever West Point asks of him because he feels a personal obligation to be the best asset to freedom and to the United States.

West Point’s honor and opportunity to significantly impact society after graduating from college drew Santoro to choose the military academy. Both the coaches and the academy impressed Santoro, but the tipping point was the school’s initial contact with him.

West Point sent Santoro a handwritten letter, explaining how much Santoro impressed the school. Santoro says that he was just as impressed with the school. “Handwritten notes always indicate a different level of enthusiasm and reputation.”


Brains and Brawn

The only collegiate title that sounds better than Division One is Ivy League.

Shortstop Matt Collins has a rigorous future, both athletically and academically. Next year, Collins will be playing Division One baseball at Ivy League’s Cornell University. He looks forward to the challenges and the chance to play right away.

A great visit to New York and a positive experience with the coaching staff helped Collins make his decision. He loved the school, and he says he’s already bonded with the new Cornell coach, Dan Pepicelli. “By the end of camp, Coach Pep was calling me ‘Matty.'”


Not every high school athlete has an opportunity to play in college, let alone in a Division One school. It’s even less common for three such athletes to be on the same high school team. Johnson, Santoro, and Collins will all spend this winter looking forward to their last year on Carmel’s team and their future collegiate baseball careers. And lucky for them, college is one less thing these seniors have to worry about.

Three seniors sign to play baseball in college.
Taken from @CarmelCorsairs Twitter page
Three seniors sign to play college baseball.