Monday, March 10, 2014
By Steve Craig firstname.lastname@example.org
Matt Pare decided there were many good reasons to come back to Boston College to finish his senior season and play one more season of baseball.
Now there is one additional benefit for the 6-foot, 195-pound left-handed hitting catcher who has every intention of pursuing a professional baseball career: He will be a team captain.
"I'm just so honored to be selected a team captain by my peers. I can't even describe it," said Pare, who played baseball and attended Deering High through his junior season. He graduated from Pompano Beach in Lighthouse Point, Fla.
"I call Boston a little more home than anywhere now," Pare said.
"Three weeks out of the year I'm in Florida and then I get the itch to get back to campus. It's just such a great experience. Everyone's motivated here. It's a great feeling. Everyone's just moving and going. There's a sense of urgency here."
When Pare was playing for Deering High and American Legion ball for Nova Seafood and through his first two years at BC, his last name was Watson.
"It's a personal thing. I enjoy the new last name. It's my mom's maiden name," Pare said.
"I also changed my middle name to Robert, which was my uncle's name. He passed away when I was younger. It just feels like me. It feels like what my name should be."
Coming out of high school, following a .446 senior season that included nine homers and an appearance in the Florida All-Star Game, Pare was a 26th-round pick of the Houston Astros.
As a freshman, playing mostly as a designated hitter, Pare led the Eagles in on-base percentage, walks, hit-by-pitch and was third on the team with seven homers.
As a sophomore his season was cut short by a torn meniscus. Pare played on it for the first half of the year -- while also struggling with a shoulder problem. When he tore the meniscus further, it required surgery.
"When I was going under for surgery, the plan was to just have a piece removed and shaved off, but there was too much that was torn, so they had to repair it instead, which ended up being better in the long run but instead of a three-four week it was a four-month recovery," Pare said.
"That was tough at the time but I'm thankful that happened because I'm able to play and it feels great now."
Last season Pare made 43 starts at catcher and played in 50 games as the Eagles went 22-33 overall, 10-20 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
He hit .253 with eight doubles and four homers and again led the team in on-base percentage.
Over the summer he played for the Newport Gulls of the New England Collegiate Baseball League, "and I got my swing back," Pare said.
During the summer he batted .344 with five homers. Then hit .467 (7 of 15) with a pair of homers in six playoff games.
"I'm definitely going to play professional ball after Boston College and see where that takes me but obviously I have aspirations of doing other things, too, with the Boston College degree," Pare said.
He is beginning to look for graduate schools where he can further his study of sports psychology. He calls the study of an athlete's mental makeup his "passion," and intends to continue to put it to use as a captain.
Pare said he's also become more adept at assessing and tweaking his mental makeup to help on-field performance.
"I knew everything I had to do, I could tell everybody, I knew the coping skills of how to deal with adversity but until this summer I hadn't really applied them to myself as much as I should," Pare said.
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