North East Baseball has quickly become one of the best programs in the nation — let alone New England.
One of the men responsible for putting the program on the map is NEB National head coach, Jeff Sullivan, who joins the New England Baseball Journal Podcast to reflect on the 2021 season.
The NEB National 18U team recently took home a championship in its final fall tournament in the Northeast. That capped a successful 2021 campaign that saw the NEB National squad make the playoffs in every Perfect Game tournament it entered during the 2021 calendar year, including the 2021 WWBA World Championship in Jupiter, Fla.
“It’s been awesome; we’ve had a really good year,” Sullivan said. “Making the playoffs in Jupiter was probably the highlight. We had 20 D1 commits, and we had to fight to make it out of pool play. We faced players like (top high school prospect in the nation) Termarr Johnson, (BC commit) Adonys Guzman and (Louisville commit) Cam Collier. That was hard. We made the playoffs in every tournament for Perfect Game; that’s hard to do.”
The NEB National team is comprised of 10-12 core players from New England, including D1 commits like Groton School left-handed pitcher AJ Colarusso (Boston College), BC High centerfielder Niko Brini (UConn), East Catholic High shortstop Alex Irizarry (University of Maryland), Belmont Hill infielder Jack Winnay (Wake Forest University) and Middlesex School corner infielder Kyle Wolff (Boston College) — along with a selection of players from outside of the Northeast region, such as the sons of Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz.
“We have a core group of NEB guys like Niko Brini and Alex Irizarry,” Sullivan said. “We’ll take our top 10-12 guys that can benefit from an experience like going to Jupiter. Then we have some other guys that don’t have a team going to a specific tournament that can help our guys get looks.”
NEB National has produced 108 MLB Draft picks, including local first-rounders like Jared Shuster and Ryan Cusick in the last two years. However, Sullivan said the 300-plus college commitments are a better measure of the program’s success.
“The whole goal of the travel program is to get you to a school that you probably wouldn’t be able to go to without baseball,” Sullivan said. “We help with recruiting. Pro baseball is for the extra special kids, but the chances are you’re probably not going to play pro baseball.”
Listen to the entire interview.
Check out the full episode above, and if you’re not a subscriber you can check out our plans here.
The New England Baseball Journal Podcast is sponsored by: