The city of Lynn and St. Mary’s High School has produced another Division 1 college athlete.
Alexander “Alex” Fiste, who starred in the Wyoma Little League and won the city’s Home Run Derby as a 12-year-old, has accepted an athletic scholarship from the University of Hartford. The scholarship package is worth approximately $32,000 per year.
Fiste, 18, will begin workouts on Aug. 29 for the Division 1 Hawks’ fall exhibition season. Former Houston Astros slugger Jeff Bagwell played his college baseball at Hartford while former Celtics center Vin Baker is an alumnus as well.
Fiste, who batted .422 in his three-year career at St. Mary’s [he played varsity baseball his freshman year at Lynn English], attracted the attention of Hartford and other Division 1 schools as a result of an All-Star-caliber season (.418 batting average, 11 extra base hits including three home runs) for St. Mary’s, who advanced to the North sectional finals. He also excelled in the Eastern Mass. and Mass.-Connecticut All-Star games and in the Junior Select Game at Bentley University.
Fiste had also made a favorable impression on scouts at the 2010 Lynn Invitational Baseball Showcase led by St. Mary’s alumni Tim Fila and Joel Karakaedos and held at Fraser Field in Lynn.
Fiste is excited to be joining the elite ranks of Division 1 college baseball.
“One of my goals in high school was to be a Division 1 college athlete,” said Fiste, who drew interest from UConn, Northeastern, Virginia Tech, URI, UMass and Bryant. “[Former UConn associate coach] Justin Blood took the head coaching position at Hartford and he was one of my favorite coaches during my recruitment process, so I though it would be a good opportunity for me.”
St. Mary’s head coach and alumnus Derek Dana, who played Division 1 baseball at UMass/Amherst and professionally in the San Francisco Giants organization, said Fiste was a consistent performer whose all-around skills kept improving in each season. Dana rewarded Fiste’s leadership and outstanding character by naming him a captain of the team.
“Alex had a great season and carried it over to the State Tournament,” said Dana. “He batted over .500 in his first year with our program and he started in 68 out of 69 career games. He was a leader for our team. He wanted the position of captain and I gave him a shot to earn it and he earned that position through leadership and running our weight room program. He had an excellent career at St. Mary’s.”
Fiste, who had 106 career hits in four seasons, played right field and did some pitching for the Spartans. Dana said his three-year starter should have the opportunity to be an everyday player and a pitcher at Hartford.
“He’s going to have a chance to be a starting player and a pitcher and that’s one of the reasons that he wanted to go to Hartford,” said Dana. “A lot of Division 1 schools liked him as a pitcher.”
Fiste has been clocked at 86-89 miles per hour and has touched 90 on the radar gun. “Alex is just scratching the surface with his pitching,” said Dana. “If he stays healthy, I see him pitching at the college level.”
Dana is confident that Fiste will be a successful student-athlete in college.
“Alex is on the right track and I congratulate him for achieving one of his goals: a Division 1 scholarship,” said Dana.
Fiste credited Dana for being a positive influence and a valuable mentor through the recruiting process.
“I really didn’t know what to expect when I transferred to St. Mary’s,” said Fiste. “But I became really close with coach Dana and he picked me as a junior captain. He’s been really helpful and he definitely helped me develop my game. It was good having him as a coach because he’s been through the process of getting recruited and knows how the process works.”
From his days as the only 11-year-old All-Star on a District 16 champion Wyoma Little League team through his stellar high school career, Fiste has enjoyed the support of his parents Jay and Jane Fiste and his brother Nick, a graduate of Massachusetts Maritime Academy. Alex’s beloved grandfather, the late Art Fiste, a prominent high school coach and mentor to many young athletes, was also a constant presence and source of encouragement from youth sports on up. The late Mr. Fiste was on hand the night his grandson took home the home run derby trophy from Barry Park.