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The Ivy League would have been the preferred educational route for former standout Hunt High baseball player and strong academic performer Josh Fuller.
But the 18-year-old son of Alex and Susan Fuller assures he’s comfortable with continuing his academic process and baseball career at Haverford College in Philadelphia.
Fuller, coming off a splendid American Legion baseball season with Wilson Post 13, is already listed on the Haverford roster for the 2020 season. The Fords are members of the NCAA Division III Centennial Conference — where they reached the tournament championship game last season.
“An Ivy League school would have been great,” Fuller, a 2018 Hunt graduate, commented. “But I am comfortable with Haverford and what they offer.”
Fuller continued his educational preparation by spending a year at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire. He pointed out about 40% of the Exeter graduates are accepted at an Ivy League school. Many head to Haverford, an institution with a tremendous academic reputation.
With an Exeter team that won the Central New England Prep School Conference, Fuller, a right-hander, pitched and played shortstop. He batted .330 and, as a starting pitcher in eight games, compiled an earned run average in the neighborhood of 2.00. In the classroom, Fuller posted a 9.0 on a scale that crested at 11.0.
The fact that Fuller, with his strong academic standing, attended a prep school perplexed. He explained that, in essence, he skipped the first grade — spending a half year in kindergarten and a half year in the first grade. Thus, he was basically a year younger than his peers throughout elementary, middle and high school. The intent was for the year of prep school to level his development.
“Losing a year in development hurt me,” Fuller reasoned, “but I don’t think it prevented me from contributing a lot. Exeter was very difficult — a lot of work.”
Fuller eyes an engineering career but anticipates earning his degree in biology or physics at Haverford.
Of balancing baseball and his studies, he responded: “Haverford has a little more leniency about baseball and I feel a lot better about my time management.”
Fuller emerged a 3-A All-Big East Conference performer at Hunt and, with Post 13 this summer, he excelled as a hitter, defender and pitcher.
“I always seem to hit the ball better in the summer,” he acknowledged.
Jon Smith, Fuller’s head coach at Hunt; and Noah Edens, his Legion coach, expressed confidence Fuller is destined for success. Both lauded his decision.
“To make the transition to a big-time Ivy League school was his goal,” Smith revealed, “but a lot of smart folks come out of (Haverford). Josh is going to wind up getting a great job and making a lot of money one of these days. Academics are always going to be No. 1 with him.”
Of Fuller’s baseball plight, Smith said: “He is getting better. He was always fundamentally sound and has a very high baseball IQ. He can play a lot of places. He is not going to wow you in just one game. But go with him 10 games and you realize he is the kind of player who will help you win ball games.
“Josh is a great leader; he loves to win; and he loves to prepare to win. He’s great to be around.”
Edens concurred, noting: “He is an all-around great kid, a great person and a great player. He can play any position. He’s very quiet but he’s still a competitor. He has a big heart and plays hard.
“He hit the ball really good and threw the ball really well for us this summer. He challenges hitters and gets people out. It was a pleasure to have him with us this summer, and he’ll be successful wherever he goes.”
Fuller mentions his freshman goals at Haverford as to “find a way onto the field, contribute and work into a regular role” as either a pitcher, middle infielder or both.
He admits a New Hampshire winter is tough and most missed the weather and food of Eastern North Carolina.
But of playing baseball at Haverford, Fuller emphasized: “I would not be comfortable going to a school where I thought I would not be comfortable if I wasn’t playing baseball.”