By DAVE O’SULLIVAN
Staff Writer
The fall National Signing Day events happened on Wednesday afternoon all over the country, and in a converted garage in Pleasantville the Baseball Performance Center trotted out its biggest field of college commitments ever. In all there were 16 young men from three states who train at the center run by former Holy Spirit standout Mike Adams and former St. Augustine Prep star Ed Charlton, both of whom played professionally following their college careers.
According to Adams and Charlton, the 16 players combined to earn more than a million dollars in scholarship money.
This is the third year the BPC has hosted a Signing Day event and this year featured its most star-studded class, headlined by Mainland Regional senior right-handed pitcher Chase Petty, who clocked 100 miles-per-hour this summer and shot up Major League Baseball draft projection boards in the process. He signing his National Letter of Intent to attend the University of Florida.

Baseball Performance Center co-owner Ed Charlton talks with parents during BPC’s third annual National Signing Day event in Pleasantville. (Glory Days photo/Sully)


Petty knows he’s a likely MLB draft pick but said he’s committed to the University of Florida, and will cross that bridge when he comes to it as far as whether he turns professional after high school.
“It’s a great feeling. All these guys here are committing to their dream school and it’s a great experience. I’ve been training with a lot of these guys for a few years now and we’ve built up a bond. I’ve been waiting for this moment for a while now,” he said. “I’m kind of just waiting to see what happens. I’m focused this offseason on lifting, getting better, getting stronger, and when the time comes, the time comes. Hopefully we’ll have a season and we can bring a state championship back to Mainland this spring.”
Petty wowed scouts throughout a summer tour that included stops at all the big-time events, such as Perfect Game Nationals and the Area Code Games. He consistently threw in the upper 90s — touching 100 on one occasion — and only let up a handful of hits throughout all his summer appearances against the best high school competition in the country. He’s not resting on his laurels, however. He knows there is plenty to improve upon.
“The biggest thing is having those secondary pitches — having a plus slider, a plus change-up, a plus curveball — a lot of these hitters at the higher levels, you’re not just going to beat them with a fastball,” Petty said. “I’ve just been focusing on my craft and cleaning everything up.”
The list of players committed who train at BPC is impressive and includes the likes of Buena’s Brady Betts (Maryland), Ocedan City’s Gannon Brady (Fordham) and Matt Nunan (Boston College), St. Joseph Academy’s Jayden Shertel (University of Maryland-Baltimore County) and Brock Mercado (UNC-Asheville) and St. Augustine Prep’s Jackson Vanesko (Bryant) and Brody McKenzie (Rhode Island). Other signees included EHT’s Frank Wright (Wagner), Holy Spirit’s Shane Solari (Villanova) and David Hagaman (West Virigina), Kingsway’s Justin Szestowicki (North Carolina), Conrad (Del.) High’s Braeden Scherer (William & Mary), Cherry Hill East’s Brandon Chrorzelewski (Seton Hall), Vineland’s Ronnie Barnabei (Felician) and Kellen Davis of Penn Crest High in Pennsylvania, who will be headed to Old Dominion.

More than a dozen players from three states who train at BPC signed National Letters of Intent on Wednesday, and the group earned more than $1 million in scholarship money. (Glory Days photo/Sully)


“I talked to UMBC a couple times last year, then talked again this spring. I was planning some other visits but I had built a relationship with them through phone calls, Zoom meetings and when I went down there I really like it. I felt like that was home. I really liked the way (their campus) is laid out and the coaches there seem really cool, and the players I talked to were really cool, too,” said Shertel, who also is the star quarterback at St. Joseph. “It was between (UMBC) and one other school, but once I visited I realized that it was going to be UMBC. I’m pumped to get down there and compete as a freshman, and hopefully get a starting spot. Honestly, I just love the game and I’m going to play as hard as I can.
Hagaman began his high school career at Cedar Creek but recently transferred to Holy Spirit. Typically players who transfer to a private school must sit out the first 30 days of the following season, but that rule may get waived because players lost out on this past spring’s baseball season.
“With the whole COVID-19 thing, Holy Spirit was five days a week in school — being home all the time, I’ve been home since March, and I just wanted to get back into that school atmosphere. I’m not sure yet (if I’ll have to sit out 30 days). I could see why they would, but I can also see why they wouldn’t (make kids sit) because of COVID. I’m just going to wait to hear from the coaches and see what happens,” Hagaman said. “We were all really disappointed (at Cedar Creek). We had a really good team with a lot of seniors and our pitching staff was outstanding. When everything was taken away it was upsetting, but it happened and you just have to move on and those guys are doing well in college now.”
Hagaman has played shortstop and third base during his high school career but projects as a pitcher at West Virginia.
“When I went down there, I just loved everything about it, the atmosphere, the coaches, everything,” he said. “I’ve been preparing every day, working out, getting stronger. I just shut down my arm so it can get healthy again. I do arm care with Dr. Ryan Buccafurni (of Integrity Physical Therapy in Northfield) and just make sure my shoulder is working well. Aside from that, I’ve just been lifting weights and talking to the coaches at West Virginia. I’m really excited. I missed a lot without the high school season, but I feel like I’ve gotten a lot stronger and my mental game is better. I just can’t wait to get out there again, it feels like it’s been so long. I came in my freshman year at 6-foot-2 and only 135 pounds, so I was a skinny guy. I’m still skinny now, but I’m working to get stronger. I have to be able to stay in shape and go out there (for West Virginia) whenever they need me.”
Contact Dave O’Sullivan: sully@acglorydays.com; on Twitter @GDsullysays