As just a freshman playing on the Hamden Hall Country Day School baseball team last spring, Cheshire resident Bennett Crerar got to share in a couple of celebrations. His team made a late-season surge to win the Fairchester Athletic Association and New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) Small Tournament, but after the season, Crerar felt that he was missing out on more experiences.
“Hamden Hall was great to me, both academically and athletically,” recalled Crerar. “After I won the New England prep school baseball championship, I realized that you are not playing for your town. I think there is something special about being in your hometown and making a difference in the school.”
Over the summer, Crerar decided that he wanted to transfer to Cheshire High School. While he didn’t know what to expect of his return to the school district, he has been very pleased with his homecoming.
“The transition has been awesome. I love being back in my hometown,” stated Crerar. “The teachers have been helpful. When I went to Hamden Hall, I kept a lot of my friends from Dodd (Middle School) and CHS.”
In the winter, Crerar became a starting sophomore forward for the boys’ basketball team. He provided key scoring and rebounding for the Rams who finished the season at 7-13.
“The basketball team has a great group of guys,” said Crerar, who enjoyed playing before big crowds on Friday and Saturday nights. “It (that experience) showed me what it is like to have a great group of people supporting you.”
Like in basketball, Crerar has worked at improving his skills on the baseball diamond.
“I like whatever season I’m in,” stated Crerar. “There is a lot of failure in baseball, but it challenges you. Basketball is a great sport that keeps me athletic.”
Baseball is a passion that runs deep in his family. His father competed on the Division II level at Southern Connecticut State University, while Crerar’s grandfather played in the Class A ranks with the Boston Red Sox prior to the Korean War.
Crerar started seeing his potential after transferring to Hamden Hall. In repeating as an eighth grader and coming off an injury, he didn’t expect to play much on the baseball team, but was pleasantly surprised to see his name in the lineup for a scrimmage.
“We had three Division I (college) kids on our team,” recalled Crerar. “As an eighth grader, I was seeing 90-mile-per-hour pitches from 18- and 19-year olds. I had to get used to that.”
After helping Hamden Hall win their pair of tourney titles last year, Crerar worked on his game with The Clubhouse baseball program. The club travels for tournaments in places like Georgia, Florida, California, and Alabama.
“It (being on the team) has showed me where I need to be to play in college and be a standout player to help my team win,” explained Crerar.
He feels that he has benefited from playing against top competition. In visiting Georgia last summer, he had what he called an eye-opening experience.
“I thought I was going to dominate because I had played against D-I competition up here,” recalled Crerar. “I was down there for two weeks in Georgia and I was struggling for the first week, but I figured it out and had a great summer.”
For Clubhouse, Crerar has contributed at shortstop, third base, and in the outfield.
“I like playing every position. My favorites are shortstop and center field,” said Crerar. “I think it is important to be versatile. If someone gets hurt, you can move into another spot.”
His skill set has drawn regional and national interest. After attending a Prep Baseball Report (PBR) ProCase on Feb. 11, Crerar is now ranked as the sixth overall New England player in the Class of 2025 and the second overall shortstop.
During his pro scouting regional showcase at Danbury Sports Dome, players were tested for their 60-yard dash, max exit and infield velocity, rotational acceleration average, bat speed, and more.
“It was for the top-100 kids from the Northeast. I went there as an uncommitted kid (for college) and did really well,” recalled Crerar.
Traveling around the country has allowed him to play in front of multiple college staffs. He started hearing from coaches last summer and got his first recruiting offer from Northeastern University (Massachusetts) in January.
Over the last year, Crerar has visited many colleges and universities, but on Feb. 19, he announced that he was committing to the application process to play baseball and study at Princeton University in New Jersey.
“Princeton has a great balance of academics and baseball. I strive to work really hard in the classroom,” stated Crerar. “My mom went to Yale, so I started talking to Ivies (Ivy League schools).”
As a sophomore, he can give a verbal college commitment until signing officially as a senior.
“For the last two or three months, I was on the phone with a lot of coaches,” recalled Crerar. “It is hard at (age) 16 to make a decision for college, but it (Princeton) felt right to me and I love everything about it.”
Scott Bradley has coached Princeton baseball to seven Ivy titles.
“The coach is well-known throughout the country,” stated Crerar. “The facilities blew me out of the water (at Princeton). They have a great indoor facility with room for long toss. That is helpful when you are playing up in the Northeast.”
He likes that the school isn’t too far away from home, so his family can come see him play. Crerar has been appreciative of their support in the college process.
“I don’t know how I could thank them,” said Crerar. “My parents have helped me with everything.”
Crerar looks up to his older sister Ella, who is also interested in playing on the next level. After being a three-year varsity soccer player at CHS, she transferred to Choate Rosemary Hall last fall.
“She is figuring things out at Choate,” stated Crerar. “She loves it there.”
Crerar has made his college decision, but he still wants to play in big showcases. He has been invited to play in the Area Code Underclass Games for the Class of 2025. Scouts from all Major League Baseball teams and college coaches are slated to attend the event from Aug. 2-5 at the University of San Diego.
Before getting into the summer circuit, Crerar is focused on his first baseball season at CHS.
Under the tutelage of first-year head coach Alex LeFevre, the Rams started practice last Saturday.
“I want to do whatever I can to help the team win,” said Crerar. “Coach LeFevre is big on bringing the guys together. I want to have a good relationship with all of the guys on the team.”
While focusing on basketball in the winter, Crerar still put time into critiquing his swing and throwing motion.
“On the mental side, I watched a ton of film to find things I can do to separate myself from other athletes we will play against,” explained Crerar.
The Rams went 10-11 last year. To kick off this season on April 1, Cheshire travels to play Stamford for a game at 1 p.m.
“It is going to be a lot of fun,” added Crerar.