Chase Jeter, a senior at West Hartford’s Hall High School, has committed to playing baseball at Dartmouth College.
By Ronni Newton
Chase Jeter started playing baseball as a preschooler, and on Wednesday afternoon, in a ceremony attended by family, friends, and coaches, he signed his Likely Letter, officially committing to continuing the sport as a student-athlete at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH.
Dartmouth’s baseball team competes at the Division I level, but as an Ivy League School utilizes a Likely Letter rather than the National Letter of Intent.
At the ceremony, Jeter credited his coaches, teammates, and his parents with supporting him through his years playing baseball as well as through the lengthy recruiting process.
He said he considered other schools, but was thrilled when Dartmouth expressed interest and ultimately extended him an offer.
“They looked past my physical size to the ability I have on the mound,” said Jeter, a 5-foot-10-inch lefty pitcher. Most Division I college pitchers are closer to 6 foot 4, he said.
On April 10, Jeter pitched a perfect game in an 8-0 victory over Rockville High School at home at Hall High School. A perfect game is a rarity in baseball at any level, and extremely rare in high school.
Unfortunately there weren’t any college coaches watching that day because it fell during a “dead period” for NCAA recruiting, Jeter said, but the Dartmouth representative saw him pitch well just a few days later and he received an offer that very night. He accepted the offer shortly thereafter.
Baseball was a key factor in considering colleges, Jeter said, but academics were also very important. “Dartmouth definitely fit that mold,” he said. After he visited the Dartmouth campus, he knew that was where he wanted to go.
Jeter doesn’t know what he wants to study, but said perhaps something in the history field.
He would also love the opportunity to play baseball beyond college, and said that recruiters think highly of Dartmouth, noting that’s where Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks came from.
“We’re very, very proud of you and everything you’ve done and accomplished. We know it’s not easy,” West Hartford Athletic Director Jason Siegal told Jeter at the ceremony. “We look forward to following your career as you move forward.”
Jeff Billing, who has coached Jeter in baseball throughout his Hall High School career, said he is “the rare athlete who came in really talented and capable and outworked everyone.”
Billing also had Jeter as a student in a pre-calculus class, and said he is a true gentleman in the classroom and on the baseball field. “I’m so proud of you and happy for you,” he told Jeter at the ceremony.
In the seven years he has coached the Hall baseball team, Billing said Jeter is the first to sign with a Division I program. He said he’s not aware of any Hall pitcher ever pitching at the Division I level.
“We’re very proud of him. He’s worked really hard for this ever since he was a 4-year-old,” said Jeter’s mom, Tammy.
Tammy Jeter said that she played softball and has always been a baseball fan, something she passed along to her boys. Chris Jeter, Chase’s dad, joked that he’s not the one with the sports ability, but he contributed the right name.
Chase, and his brother Kyle, have worn uniform no. 2 whenever possible – in honor of now-retired Yankee Derek Jeter.
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