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Merrimack Valley’s Drouin signs letter of intent to pitch for Hartford

  • Merrimack Valley High School's David Drouin asks his coach, Sean Wheeler (not pictured) to ask if it's time for him to sign his national letter of intent to accept a full scholarship to play Division I baseball for the University of Hartford; November 19, 2012. His family (from left) brother Sam Drouin, father Michael Drouin and mother Beverly Drouin stand behind him.<br/><br/>(SAMANTHA GORESH / Monitor staff)

    Merrimack Valley High School's David Drouin asks his coach, Sean Wheeler (not pictured) to ask if it's time for him to sign his national letter of intent to accept a full scholarship to play Division I baseball for the University of Hartford; November 19, 2012. His family (from left) brother Sam Drouin, father Michael Drouin and mother Beverly Drouin stand behind him.

    (SAMANTHA GORESH / Monitor staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • Merrimack Valley High School's David Drouin asks his coach, Sean Wheeler (not pictured) if it's time for him to sign his national letter of intent to accept a full scholarship to play Division I baseball for the University of Hartford; November 19, 2012. His family (from left) brother Sam Drouin, father Michael Drouin and mother Beverly Drouin stand behind him.<br/><br/>(SAMANTHA GORESH / Monitor staff)

    Merrimack Valley High School's David Drouin asks his coach, Sean Wheeler (not pictured) if it's time for him to sign his national letter of intent to accept a full scholarship to play Division I baseball for the University of Hartford; November 19, 2012. His family (from left) brother Sam Drouin, father Michael Drouin and mother Beverly Drouin stand behind him.

    (SAMANTHA GORESH / Monitor staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »

  • Merrimack Valley High School's David Drouin asks his coach, Sean Wheeler (not pictured) to ask if it's time for him to sign his national letter of intent to accept a full scholarship to play Division I baseball for the University of Hartford; November 19, 2012. His family (from left) brother Sam Drouin, father Michael Drouin and mother Beverly Drouin stand behind him.<br/><br/>(SAMANTHA GORESH / Monitor staff)
  • Merrimack Valley High School's David Drouin asks his coach, Sean Wheeler (not pictured) if it's time for him to sign his national letter of intent to accept a full scholarship to play Division I baseball for the University of Hartford; November 19, 2012. His family (from left) brother Sam Drouin, father Michael Drouin and mother Beverly Drouin stand behind him.<br/><br/>(SAMANTHA GORESH / Monitor staff)

PENACOOK – The decision became official yesterday. But David Drouin’s mind was really made up in the summer.

That’s when the Merrimack Valley senior was coming off of a dominant season on the mound for the Pride and an equally impressive stint as the ace for the Concord Post 21 American Legion team, and when he had University of Hartford baseball Coach Justin Blood on the phone.

Blood asked him about which schools he was considering. And then he offered another question.

“He went ‘All right, so what if I offered you a full ride?’ ” Drouin said. “And my heart just dropped.”

That process came full circle yesterday, as the hard-throwing senior signed his letter of intent to accept a full baseball scholarship to Division I Hartford. It was the formal end to what had been a season of entertaining offers and interest from several schools, and Drouin was thrilled that it turned out the way it did.

“I’m just very excited for the future,” he said.

Even though he didn’t sign the papers before yesterday at the Merrimack Valley High School library, Drouin knew from that phone call where he would be going.

“It was incredible,” he said. “I said I had to talk to my parents, but I knew in the back of my head there was no way I was turning it down.”

Hartford was the winner out of a group of schools that included Southern New Hampshire University, St. John’s, Connecticut and Franklin Pierce. The right-hander was in pursuit, but it’s not as if the interest was the result of years and years of grooming.

“Throughout my baseball career, since I was around 8, I was a hitter,” Drouin said. “I was always just a hard thrower.”

In his sophomore year, however, that strong arm began to translate into a career on the mound, and Drouin realized what he had going for him. Working extensively with his father, Mike, and with Bryan Caruso at the Concord Sports Center, Drouin began to sharpen his mechanics, build up his body and turn himself into a full-time athlete.

“The time he’s spent in the offseason throwing, and all the summer programs he’s played in and all the stuff he’s done, it’s all gotten him to this point,” MV Coach Sean Wheeler said. “He enjoys it. He enjoys the game. … It doesn’t become a job to him.”

By the time last season got under way, Drouin had turned himself into one of the state’s best pitchers. Armed with a fastball that sits between 87-89 miles per hour and touches 90, a good curveball that he calls his “out pitch” and a changeup, Drouin went 4-3 for the Pride with a 1.30 ERA and a whopping 92 strikeouts in only 54 innings. MV was done by June, but Drouin, who also batted .442, kept going, leading Post 21 to a state Legion championship and the Northeast Regional tournament.

By that point, Blood had seen enough. After seeing Drouin pitch in person in a Legion game, the coach, a Monadnock High and Franklin Pierce College grad, knew he wanted to add Drouin to his pitching staff.

“For a younger guy, he repeats his mechanics very well,” Blood said. “He commands his fastball very well, and has some secondary pitches that are going to be really good pitches when he develops once he gets to college.”

Blood said he thinks Drouin can contribute right away, thanks to a package of skills that’s rare with high school pitchers.

“You’re either a stuff guy or a feel guy, or a combination of the two,” he said. “Not very often do you get the guys that are a combination coming out of high school. I think that’s what makes David special.”

Yesterday, after introductions from Wheeler and alum and former major league pitcher Bob Tewksbury, Drouin put on a Hartford hat and signed the papers he’d wanted to sign for months.

Another spring leading the Pride remains. But for Drouin, the future is set, as well.

“I’m really excited to see what happens,” he said. “It should be a lot of fun.”

(Drew Bonifant can be reached at 369-3340 or at abonifant@cmonitor.com, or via Twitter @dbonifant.)

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