NEW MILFORD — Canterbury baseball coach Todd Mathewson and the school have increased their commitment to the program, bringing in talented players from around the area to become more competitive.
The best recruit they’ve ever had came right under their collective noses.
New Milford native Max Cotier has skyrocketed to a status as one of the best players in the entire state, a multidimensional threat at shortstop. The University of Virginia-bound senior is on the radar of professional scouts with the draft around the corner.
“That was the easiest recruit I’ve ever had,” joked Mathewson, who has been at the school since 2013. “Not too often you have someone who’s a good player as he is in your backyard. You just fall into that and it’s something really lucky to have.”
Cotier was the Western New England Prep League’s Player of the Year in 2018, when he batted over .500. He’s off to a similarly hot start this season for the Saints, who are 4-4 in a schedule filled with some of the top programs in the region.
He plays three sports at the school, including soccer, and could be moved to second base at the next level.
“He really is a five-tool player,” said Mathewson. “He runs really well, he fields well and has a good arm.”
A quiet confidence is validated by his big performances at the top stage. A four-year player at the school, Cotier has been a part of a revival for the Canterbury program. Cotier — whose dad is the associate head of the school — lives within a stone’s throw of the school’s baseball field.
“I think I was less comfortable as a freshman because I didn’t want to be known as his kid,” said Cotier. “But once I got acclimated I thought it was better since I grew up here. I knew where everything was.”
Born in upstate New York before moving to New Milford, Cotier grew up playing in town while attending Sarah Noble and Rumsey Hall School. Mathewson’s first interaction with Cotier — who helped New Milford reach the Cal Ripken World Series — came when he was about 10; he did a short workout and Mathewson saw immediate potential.
“He hit three home runs in the first (Cal Ripken) All-Star game I saw him in and realized he’s going to be good,” Mathewson said.
He was connected with the Virginia coaching staff while participating for summer club team Baseball U prior to his sophomore season. The Cavaliers scouted him during a tournament in Fort Myers, Florida and he was offered a spot with the team.
“My summer coach was the main guy who helped me go to Virginia,” Cotier said. “The coaching staff has been there for 12 or 13 years; something I look for is consistency in the coaching staff. Of course they’ve been really successful the past few years.”
Pro scouts are often at Canterbury — which has a student body of just over 300 — to watch the potential star. Cotier also shined at showcase events such as the Area Code and East Coast games over the past several years to increase his exposure.
“When the bright lights are on, he rises to the occasion,” Mathewson said. “He’s done such a great job and that’s why everyone follows him. When the level of competition gets higher, he figures out how to rise to the challenge.”
Developing power for the 5-foot-10, 160-pounder is the last piece, Mathewson said. A full-time commitment with one of the top college programs in the nation for several years could springboard Cotier to the professional level. He is also draft-eligible this year.
“Its been really surreal because I’ve wanted to be a professional baseball player since I was 3,” Cotier said. “It’s been a cool experience, I’m just trying to enjoy it; it would be a dream come true (to be drafted).”