Male athlete of the week

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Now comes the fun part for Mike Dennhardt.

The Don Bosco junior right-hander will spend the summer pitching for Baseball U, a Monmouth County-based travel team. Not only will Dennhardt travel the country competing in high-profile tournaments in places such as Georgia and South Carolina, but he'll also be wading through letters from about 30 different colleges.

There's nothing better than being young and having options.

"Boston College is my No. 1 choice right now," said Dennhardt, who earned The Record's Male Athlete of the Week honor by limiting Old Tappan to two runs and six hits in seven innings to win the championship game of the Bergen County tournament. "But there's also Penn, Vanderbilt and Coastal Carolina.

"There's a lot to think about. I have to sit down and look at each school, trying to figure out the pitching staffs for the next five years."

Dennhardt, who was 9-0 this season, also has license to dream about being drafted by a major league team next June. After his start against St. Joseph last month, a scout from the Cincinnati Reds invited him to a workout later this month.

"All I could think was, 'Wow!' " said Dennhardt, who lives in Oradell. "I accepted it, but I was a little in shock. I know that when I go there, I can't show off. I just have to be ready and do my best, and we'll see what happens."

No matter which school Dennhardt eventually chooses, he wants to study either physical therapy or finance. He'd like to make his choice in mid-to-late July at the conclusion of a big tournament in Marietta, Ga.

Dennhardt was a quarterback as a freshman, but even though he initially advanced quickly on the depth chart, he realized football wasn't in his future.

"I knew football was not getting me into college," said Dennhardt, who enjoyed studying physics and algebra. "Being on the baseball field is being in my natural habitat."

Also nominated: Mike Marscovetra of Indian Hills for baseball.