Baseball

St. Augustine baseball player C.J. Furey commits to Villanova

St. Augustine baseball player C.J. Furey commits to Villanova

C.J. Furey had some inspiration when making his college decision.

His older brother, Brian, plays baseball for the United States Naval Academy. A family friend, Cole Vanderslice, is at Villanova University.

Furey, a rising junior pitcher at St. Augustine Prep, made a verbal commitment to Villanova earlier this month to play baseball there on a partial athletic scholarship starting in the 2024 season.

“I just loved the campus. When I went up, I fell in love with the place,” said the 16-year-old from Ocean City. “I got along really well with the coaching staff. Coming from St. Augustine, I get to continue following my Augustinian values.”

Villanova is an Augustinian school, as is St. Augustine. The Fureys are a big Catholic family, he said, so continuing on at a school like Villanova was important to him.

Furey said Vanderslice’s father and his dad talked about the school. And C.J. said he always wanted to follow in his brother’s footsteps when it came to playing NCAA Division I baseball.

“It’s always been a dream of ours. We both will be fulfilling that,” C.J. said of Brian, a rising sophomore catcher at Navy. “It’s a great feeling. He’s always been a mentor, and I’m always trying to make him proud. It’s such a great thing.

Villanova is coached by Kevin Mulvey. The Wildcats, who play in the Big East Conference, went 21-14 this spring.

“They were people I can really relate to and get along with,” Furey said of the Villanova coaching staff. “They’re all for me putting my head down and grinding. No excuses, and I just feel like I fit that characteristic really well.”

St. Augustine coach Michael Bylone said Furey started a few games during the spring, and after a brief illness was used primarily in relief. He went 2-0 with a 3.25 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 15 innings pitched.

Furey’s role the next two years will increase, Bylone said.

“For the most part, he competed (during his sophomore year),” Bylone said. “Anytime he was up he competed. It was a good experience for him this year pitching in varsity games. He got that experience. We have two years left with him. (Pitching) from the left side is a pretty nice commodity to have with the stuff he possesses.”

The 5-foot-11 left-hander’s fastball currently sits between 84 and 87 mph, he said. He also throws a changeup and curveball.

He has been working with the Baseball Performance Center in Pleasantville since his freshman year, and he gives credit to the coaches there, including co-founders Mike Adams, who is pitching in the Philadelphia Phillies’ minor league system, and Ed Charlton.

St. Augustine went 23-7 this spring and won a fifth straight South Jersey Non-Public A title. It lost to St. Joseph Montvale in the state final.

Furey looks forward to a bigger role next spring with the Hermits.

“I’m looking to have a big starting or relieving spot, wherever they need me,” Furey said. “I’m excited to get out there, go out there every game and give it my all and carve up every team I go up against. I want to lead the team to another state finally and hopefully this time go out and win the state championship.

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