Gerry Peacock started playing baseball when he was 5 and gradually developed into an NCAA Division I talent.
The St. Augustine Prep senior also received a Catholic education since he first picked up that bat and glove.
Both were major factors when he verbally committed last week to continue his baseball career at the University of Notre Dame last week on a partial athletic and academic scholarship. Peacock, a standout pitcher and first baseman for the Hermits, expects to attend the Mendoza College of Business at the South Bend, Indiana, campus.
“Well, with its baseball (program) and academics, Notre Dame was a great fit for me,” Peacock said. “There also was such a beautiful church on campus and, with my religious background, it was just a great fit. It has a top-notch baseball program and is one of the top Catholic schools in the nation.”
The 18-year-old from Williamstown said he is excited to compete in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Fighting Irish finished 24-30 (12-18 ACC) last season.
“I am a great teammate at the Prep, and I am a confident kid,” said Peacock, 18. “I am also a kid that wants to win. I hope to bring all that (to Notre Dame) and help it be a winning program. I am always looking to grow, so I want to get there and be better each day, just like I am doing now.”
Peacock said St. Augustine head coach Mike Bylone, assistant Anthony Iaconelli and pitching coach Mike Ney helped him develop into an NCAA Division I pitcher.
Ney, who first coached Peacock during a St. Augustine baseball camp when Peacock was in eighth grade at St. Mary’s in Williamstown, praised the player and the person.
“As an athlete, he is competing just as hard, or harder, than everyone out there,” Ney said. “He is his biggest critic and wants to do everything the right way. He’s one of those pitchers that make it tough to go out there and take the ball from at times.
“And on the flip side of that, he’s the kind of pitcher who you don’t think twice about giving the call to when the team needs someone to come up big.”
Last season, Peacock was 3-1 with one save and a 2.33 ERA. He struck out 44 and allowed just 18 hits in 27 innings.
Peacock also batted .379 with six doubles, 17 RBIs and 16 runs scored as a junior. He had 33 hits, including one triple, one home run and drew nine walks.
He was a first-team Press All-Star after helping St. Augustine go 26-4 and win the South Jersey Non-Public A and state Non-Public A titles. Peacock said the team is hungry for the 2019 season.
He also wants to capture the Joe Hartmann Diamond Classic title next spring after losing in extra-inning in the finals in 2018.
“I see myself growing and thriving there (at the D-I level),” Peacock said. “They will make me better, just like it will make everyone else better. It is such a great environment to grow in. … It is a dream come true, and I am grateful for the opportunity.”
Ney said the St. Augustine coaching staff preaches that success at higher levels comes down to being mentally prepared rather than just being talented.
Peacock has both and will thrive at Notre Dame, according to Ney.
“What makes Gerry so special is his competitive edge and his desire to be great,” Ney said. “It’s been amazing to see him grow over the past few years as a hitter, fielder and pitcher.
“Gerry has shown that he is mature enough to do everything that is asked of him to succeed and continue to progress as a student and athlete.”