NEW BRITAIN - The New Britain baseball team knew whenever Will Homar stepped on the mound they always had a chance to win.
Southern Connecticut State University is looking for the same thing.
On Friday afternoon, surrounded by his family, teammates and head coach Roberto Mercado at New Britain High School, the All-State pitcher put pen to paper and signed his letter of intent to play for the Division-II Owls.
“I went there for a visit and I liked it,” Homar said. “They have what I want to major in [sports management] and [the visit] felt good to me. I went to one of their practices and I got to see how they run it and work and I liked it.”
With Southern Connecticut compiling a 21-23 record this past season, the Hurricanes’ senior has the ability to make an immediate impact next spring, and Homar has gotten plenty of experience during his time with New Britain.
A mainstay on varsity since his freshman season, Homar has played in 82 games heading into this season’s Class LL tournament and has proved he can be just as dangerous at the plate as he is on the mound. He owns a .320 career batting average with 58 runs scored and 38 stolen bases.
But it has been pitching where Homar has given opponents the most trouble. The senior ace has 20 career wins, logged 220 innings and struck out an astounding 181 hitters. Perhaps most impressive is his career ERA, which sits at a low 1.75.
This season alone, Homar has continued to hone his skills while compiling some eye-popping stats. Along with his five wins, Homar compiled a 0.74 ERA, struck out 45 and allowed just 22 hits in 47 innings with a 0.782 WHIP. He also threw a no-hitter against the No. 1 seed in Class L, Windsor.
“I just think I got way better with my coaches helping me, my teammates,” Homar said. “I learned new things. If I made a mistake, I knew how to fix it.”
It also means his list of accolades run long. A four-time All-CCC selection, Homar was an All-State choice last season and was chosen to play in the Junior Select Game. He should earn another All-State honor this year and will play in the senior All-Star game. Homar also represented the United States in the Goodwill Series in Australia and New Zealand this past summer.
In all, his skill set has the Owls excited in the player they’re getting.
“He’s truly a coach’s dream,” Mercado said. “He gives 110 percent every day in practice, never missed a practice. He is always on time for everything and that’s a testament to his parents and how he was raised. But he’s going to bring that competitive nature to the field. He’s going to make his teammates better and push them by leading by example. Every college coach I’ve spoken to ask me how his character is, and a lot of kids think it’s only about the stats and numbers, but it’s also about how you are as a teammate. He has that leadership quality.”
Over the seasons, Homar put in a lot of hard work on the field and in the classroom to put himself in the position to play collegiately. But the best version of Homar may still be yet to come. Mercado certainly only sees his ace getting better.
“The sky is the limit for him,” the head coach said. “I think once he develops into his body, he’s got a wiry frame and loose arm, who knows where he can go. I think he has a chance to be drafted [into Major League Baseball] in a couple years and I know it’s not going to be because of a lack of effort or lack of drive because he’s going to give 110 percent.
“If he continues to develop and develops a little more velocity and commands his off-speed pitches a little better, who knows. It doesn’t matter what level you play. If you’re good, they’re going to find you and I think he can be that guy that makes it.”
Until then, Homar is ready to don the Owls’ blue and white once his days in gold and red are over.
“I can’t wait to continue to play baseball and get a college degree,” he said. “This is an honor. I knew I wanted to play [collegiately] and I didn’t let anything get in my way of doing that.”
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or firstname.lastname@example.org