Hopkins junior Jon Morrison commits to play Division I baseball at University of Rhode Island

Hopkins junior pitcher Jon Morrison committed to the University of Rhode Island on Sunday (BRANDON CHASE / MASSLIVE)

By Brandon Chase | bchase@masslive.com
on October 16, 2016 7:51 PM

Jon Morrison was drawn to the University of Rhode Island by past local connections.

So when the Hopkins junior right-handed pitcher gave his verbal commitment to the Rams on Sunday, he knew URI was the right place to continue his baseball career.

URI is no stranger to Western Massachusetts products. Head coach Raphael Cerrato is an Enfield, Conn. native and knows the region well. Palmer native and hard-throwing lefty Tyler Wilson has become a top prospect since developing at URI. Wilson is a two-time Atlantic-10 Pitcher of the Year and is already considered a high-round draft pick for 2017 by The New England Baseball Journal. Steve Moyers, an East Longmeadow native, went undrafted in 2016 before the Seattle Mariners signed him to a minor league contract. Moyers is also a lefty pitcher.

"It was something that you look at there and kind of idolize with Tyler Wilson and how much he's accomplished, and what they've done with Steve Moyers as well," Morrison said.

Agawam native Seamus Curran, a first baseman, committed to URI before his junior season and was drafted out of high school by the Baltimore Orioles in the eighth round of the 2015 MLB Draft. Curran chose to sign with the Orioles after high school.

In 2016, the 6-foot-4 Morrison went 4-3 for a Hopkins team that reached the Western Massachusetts Division IV semifinals for the third consecutive season. He struck out 69 and allowed just 21 runs in 46 2/3 innings with a 1.07 WHIP. Morrison said his four-seam fastball velocity is consistently in the mid 80s, but he has topped out at 89 mph in the summer. He also features a two-seam fastball, curveball and changeup. Morrison was named to the Division IV All-Western Mass. First Team.

Morrison garnered interest from UMass Lowell, Fairfield University, Qunnnipiac University and West Point before deciding on URI. He liked the direction of the program, which won its first A-10 conference championship in team history in 2016. The Rams went 1-2 in the NCAA Regionals, but pulled off a win against the University of South Carolina, then ranked sixth in the country. Wilson struck out 11 in seven innings and picked up the win.

"That was a big upside with me with URI ... it showed me how the program is on the (upswing)," Morrison said.

Morrison, who has pitched with Hopkins since his eighth-grade year, thought about attending a prep school but plans to stay with the Golden Hawks for the final two seasons of his high school career.