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11/19/2012 9:49:00 AM St. Bede's Groleau signs to play baseball at McKendree University
Ever since tee ball, Brad Groleau has been in love with baseball, and for years his dream has been to play in college.
His dream will be fulfilled.
On Friday morning, Groleau signed to play baseball at McKendree University, a NCAA Division II school located in Lebanon, Ill.
“Baseball is my favorite of the three sports (football, basketball and baseball),” said Groleau, who was joined at the signing by his parents, Ron and Kimberly, St. Bede coach John Bellino, St. Bede athletic director Tom McGunnigal and St. Bede principal Michelle Mershon. “It’s been the goal to play (in college) and I’m really fortunate that I can get a scholarship and play at this level. I’m glad I’m a Bearcat now.”
Groleau had his college search narrowed to McKendree and the University of Illinois-Springfield and ended up choosing McKendree after a visit two weeks ago.
“I picked McKendree because I really liked their coach. They have a great program down in Lebanon by St. Louis,” Groleau said. “I liked the program. They have brand new batting cages. I like their field. They also have a turf football field and during the winter they go out on that just to get outside and catch some flyballs. I really liked that as well.”
Groleau, who is undecided on his major but is considering accounting and economics, also liked the academic setting.
“Their classrooms remind me a lot of what the St. Bede classrooms are like,” Groleau said. “They have smaller class sizes and you get to know the teacher pretty well.”
During his visit, Groleau worked out for the coaching staff, toured the campus and talked with players, including former Putnam County standout Josh Tonozzi, who is a freshman.
“I got to talk with him and I’ve texted him on and off asking him some questions about the school,” Groleau said. “He had nothing but good things to say about McKendree. He told me he really liked the class size. He said he loved the coach and loved the program.”
Bellino said Groleau will be an asset at the college level because of his versatility. “He loves the game,” Bellino said. “He has great speed. He’s very versatile. He can play a lot of positions - he can play first, he can play outfield and he can pitch. I don’t know where they’ll use him most.”
Groleau said McKendree coach Jim Boehne plans to use him mostly as an outfielder.
“Coach said he needed a quick, left-handed throwing outfielder and I fit that spot,” Groleau said. “I really like McKendree because I really have a chance of playing my freshman year. I’ll have to earn a spot. I’m really looking forward to being able to focus on one sport.”
Last season, Groleau hit .485 with 42 RBIs and an area-best eight triples. He was a NewsTribune All-Area First-Team selection after earning second-team honors as a sophomore.
“It’s always important to (send players on to college),” Bellino said. “It’s real nice to have that in your program. We’ve been very fortunate to have had quite a few kids go on and play. I wish Brad the best of luck. I know his dream is to go on to the Major Leagues and I hope he gets there.”
Kevin Chlum can be reached at 220-6939, or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsEditor.
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