By Cary Shuman
Brandon Devin and Andre Gaudet have been friends, classmates, and teammates for a long time. They starred in different Little League organizations, played for the Gallant All-Star team and were united as All-Stars again in the Greater Lynn Babe Ruth program.
Now seniors and star athletes at Lynn Classical High School, they will be moving on after graduation to a larger stage and fulfilling a lifelong dream to be a college baseball player.
Devin and Gaudet each signed letters of intent to attend Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., where they will play in coach Barry Rosen’s Division 2 program.
In an interesting twist to this baseball story, Classical coach Mike Zukowski played college baseball for Barry Rosen when he was a student at Merrimack College. It was Zukowski’s glowing recommendation of the two Classical standouts that drew Rosen’s attention.
The two baseball brethren made their college destinations official in an impressive ceremony inside the administrative offices of Classical Principal Gene Constantino.
“They’re both great kids and great role models in our school,” said Constantino, a former LCHS girls basketball coach. “They’ve worked hard for four years and it’s been a pleasure watching them grow and mature. We look forward to a great baseball season at Classical but I’m really happy for them continuing next year and playing college athletics.”
Bill Devin has watched the development of the two athletes from the proud perspective of Classical director of athletics and his son from that as a Classical parent.
“I’m very proud of both boys,” said Devin. “I got the opportunity to watch both Andre and Brandon literally grow up before my eyes. I watched Andre play baseball up at Pine Hill and Brandon played for West Lynn American. They both went over to Lynn Babe Ruth and made an impact. They have been starters for the varsity since their freshman year which is quite an accomplishment when you consider the competitiveness of the Northeastern Conference, one of the best leagues around for baseball.
Mr. Devin said he was pleased with the choice of St. Anselm College.
“St. Anselm is a fantastic school academically and both Andre and Brandon are very good students who have done well at Classical,” said Devin. “And they’re going to get the opportunity to play for coach Barry Rosen, a highly respected coach. I look forward to following their progress in college.”
Brandon Devin, who also excelled for the Classcial ice hockey team, said that playing college baseball was always a goal.
“It’s always been a dream of mine,” said Devin, a 6-foot, 195-pound third baseman for the Rams. “I played different sports growing up, but baseball is my favorite sport. I’m excited to move on and play the next four years. I’m looking forward to playing college baseball with Andre. We played on the same All-Star team for three years and Mr. [Ron] Gaudet was our coach. We won District titles as 14-and-15-year-olds.”
Ron Gaudet said he takes pride in the fact that both his son, Andre, and teammate, Brandon, will be continuing their education in college together.
“For me, it’s a nice thing to know that someone you grew up with is going to go to college with you,” said Mr. Gaudet. “Plus it’s Division 2 baseball so it shows you the caliber that they can play at. Coach Barry Rosen is a gentleman and I’m very happy that they’ll be playing baseball in his program at St. Anselm.
“I can’t say enough about coach Zukowski and coach Waldron. They’re class acts. Andre and Brandon made the varsity as freshmen and their coaches laid down the rules and told them what they had to do to be successful and Andre and Brandon did what they were told to do. And we owe coach Zukowski and Waldron a ‘thank you’ for preaching academics first and athletics second. I’m just very proud and very happy.”
A 6-foot, 230-pound first baseman for Classical, Andre Gaudet led his Pine Hill Little League to the Lynn City Series title. His father, Ron, coached that team that was undefeated during intra-league play.
“My father has been my coach since T-Ball,” recalled Andre. “He’s been very helpful throughout my baseball career. I’ve always wanted to play college baseball.”
Andre. is excited about his future at St. Anselm. “I’m very excited about college. I think Brandon and I are going to have fun playing Division 2 baseball and hopefully winning some championships there.”
The two players are grateful to head coach Mike Zukowski and assistant coaches Jeff Waldron and Ricky Myette.
“Coach Zukowski is just a great guy,” said Andre. “I was honored when he named Brandon and me captain this year (with Matt Stanley). He puts all his effort in to coaching. He definitely works hard and makes you focus on baseball.”
Both athletes thanked their parents, who were at the signing ceremony at Classical.
“I just want to thank them for supporting me throughout my baseball career and they’re always stressing the importance of academics,” said Andre. “I think our school has prepared us well for college.”
“I’m thankful for all my parents have done for me,” said Brandon. “I’m grateful to my teachers, the guidance department, and Mr. Constantino as well. They’re very supportive.”