Westhill baseball has four players commit to play in college in one week

Photo of Scott Ericson
Westhill’s Kyle Kipp is one of four players on the team that verbally committed to colleges to continue their playing careers. Kipp committed to play Division 1 at Boston College.

Westhill’s Kyle Kipp is one of four players on the team that verbally committed to colleges to continue their playing careers. Kipp committed to play Division 1 at Boston College.

Christian Abraham / Hearst Connecticut Media

It seems those outside the program are taking notice of the talent coming back on the Westhill baseball team.

Making a run to the CIAC Class LL Championship game and returning the bulk of that roster including much of the pitching staff will get people to pay attention.

Last week, four players on the team verbally committed to colleges to continue their playing careers.

Having four kids planning to play in college is impressive enough but the Vikings have even more players getting looks from college teams who may be committing in the coming months.

“This is already the most we’ve had commit in one season,” Westhill coach Mike Riveles said. “I also have a handful more who are currently in talks with college coaches, both juniors and seniors. It all started during the state playoffs last year. Lesson learned, If you're good, coaches will come watch.”

Last week, seniors Connor Sullivan, Mika Petersen and Craig Ottaviano and junior Kyle Kipp all committed.

It continues a run of talented baseball players coming out of Westhill which currently has six former players playing in college and two professionally.

Kipp made the biggest waves, committing to play Division 1 at Boston College.

“The first time Kyle came to practice he was wearing a Boston College shirt, he has always wanted to go there. I think he is going to make big impact there,” Riveles said. “Last year, no one had heard of him before the season. By the end of the season, he deserved to be First-Team All-FCIAC. Nothing phases him. As a sophomore, he was embraced by the team and he dominated.”

Kipp did indeed dominate, going 5-1 with a 0.70 ERA, 60 strikeouts to 15 walks and just four earned runs in 40 innings pitched. He has a vast arsenal of pitches, throwing a fastball, curveball, change-up and a split-fingered fastball.

Kipp had five offers from Division 1 schools before choosing BC.

He plays at Baseball U when not playing for Westhill, going against some of the best high school players in the country.

Kipp’s battery mate, Sullivan committed to Wesleyan.

The 6-foot-4 catcher hit .342 with a.490 on base percentage and 20 RBIs while being one of the state’s better defensive catchers.

“Connor is an incredible leader and a great catcher,” Riveles said. “I have always called the pitches in games but this year we let Connor handle it because he’s so smart and knows the game and situations and what the pitchers can throw so well. It went awesome. Connor is just so mature and very smart.”

Speedy centerfielder and leadoff hitter Petersen committed to Brown.

Petersen hit .405 with a.485 on base with 5 home runs, 3 doubles, 1 triple, 16 RBIs and 36 runs scored.

Petersen plays for Baseball U and is also a legit ice hockey prospect playing for the CT Junior Rangers.

“Mika is the best athlete on the team,” Riveles said. “He’s 5-11, 160 but he packs a punch and hit five home runs last year. He can hit home runs but he will also lay down a bunt for a base hit. The are not too many kids who play like that. His speed is incredible.”

Ottaviano, who plays in the offseason for Clubhouse, committed to play at Northeastern.

The 6-foot-5, 215 pound pitcher battled injuries in 2021 but his fastball sits in the low 90s and when healthy he could be one of the best pitchers in the state.

“Craig has a pro body already. We have not seen his full potential but he has all the tools to be great,” Riveles said. “He’s an imposing force on the mound and when he’s on, he can be very tough. I think Craig is going to have a big year.”

The quality of the schools is not an accident with each player excelling in the classroom as well as on the field.

Ottaviano has a 3.8 GPA; Petersen a 4.0 GPA with a perfect score on his ACT; Sullivan also carries a 4.0 GPA and Kipp has a 3.3 GPA.

“We have extremely smart kids. Our team GPA is 3.55, we have kids taking AP classes and we have a National Merit Semifinalist,” Riveles said. “The kids who come through our baseball program are focused student athletes, on and off the field. They're also leaders inside and outside the building. We couldn't ask for better, more well-rounded kids in our program.”

Sericson@stamfordadvocate.com; @EricsonSports