FALLS VILLAGE >> In the Berkshire League, Housatonic High School senior Willy Yahn is known as a consummate athlete. He’s perhaps the league’s best soccer goalkeeper, a lights out baseball pitcher, skilled infielder and marvelous hitter.
Veteran University of Connecticut baseball coach Jim Penders sees Yahn as his second or third baseman of the future.
Tuesday afternoon, in a ceremony at Housatonic High School, Yahn made it official, signing his letter of intent for UConn.
Nobody gets to the Huskies’ Division I level without being a consummate athlete.
Several former and current coaches touted Yahn’s qualities as a person.
“I was always most proud of the way he conducts himself on and off the field,” wrote former Mountaineer Athletic Director Dan Carroll.
“I’ve been proud to watch his development as an athlete and a citizen,” said Shane Risedorf, a coach with AAU’s Team Connecticut Baseball.
Risedorf has coached his son Zach and Yahn on Team Connecticut for five years. In that time, the team has placed nationally three times, including one national championship (2011).
Zach Risedorf, a senior at Northwestern High School, also signed for UConn Tuesday.
UConn is getting two of the Berkshire League’s finest citizens, on or off the field.
Housatonic assistant baseball coach Champ Perotti offered baseball data for Yahn, the player.
“We lost eight starters from the previous team,” said Perotti. “Willy led us to the playoffs.”
Yahn never struck out in 71 at-bats last spring. As Housy’s leadoff batter, he scored 35 runs, with 46 hits, including 13 doubles, five triples and four home runs.
He drove in 21 runs. His .648 batting average was seventh in the nation among juniors by MaxPrep’s calculations, first in Connecticut.
“He’s not a pitcher,” vows Perotti, citing measurements among major league scouts.
Penders, at UConn, agrees, but Yahn and Risedorf, who throws bullets from the mound as Northwestern’s sometimes-closer, fooled a lot of BL batters last year.
Yahn was on the mound for seven of Housatonic’s eight wins last spring, striking out 110 batters in 72 innings while sporting a 2.89 ERA.
Yahn and Risedorf, an all-state catcher, are happy to play anywhere Penders needs them.
“I won’t be pitching,” smiled Yahn, “but if the opportunity presents itself…”
Yahn has the bases covered, on or off the field, individually and with his family.
Mounting DI pressures? Older sister Maggie, a former DI soccer player, has it covered. She’s majoring in sports psychology at Quinnipiac.