As long as Sean Byrnes can remember, he has wanted to play college baseball.
"Ever since I was a little kid at Cove Creek," the Monticello High School senior said Wednesday. "There's a wall, and I've always dreamed of being on the wall. Because to be on the wall you have to go to college to play baseball. So it's been one of my dreams forever."
That dream will come true for Byrnes next season, when he heads to Elon University. Byrnes signed his letter-of-intent to pitch for the Phoenix at a brief ceremony Wednesday morning at the high school.
Byrnes says he expects to pitch out of the bullpen for the Phoenix, his role in previous seasons at Monticello before becoming one of the Mustangs' starters this season.
"Sean's delivery is incredibly different," Monticello coach Corey Hunt explained. "He's got a low, three-quarter, sidearm-type thing. So whatever pitch he throws, it moves. And that's what's enticing to colleges, that's what was enticing to Elon."
"Sean, he knows what he can do," Hunt added. "And he knows he can help that program, if he goes in there and works hard."
Byrnes said Georgetown and Canisius had also expressed interest in the right-hander, but he committed to Elon upon receiving an offer from the school in December.
The Phoenix are currently 23-13 on the season, and in fourth place in the Southern Conference standings at 9-6 in the league. Last year, Elon won the SoCon Tournament, and reached the program's first-ever NCAA regional final before losing to Virginia in Charlottesville.
But Elon's on-field success is only part of the reason Byrnes picked the school.
"He's a very, very academic student," said Hunt. "He's very smart. He wants to be challenged both academically and athletically, and Elon can do both of those for him. And he chose a great school."
"The coaching staff is great. It felt like the right fit when I went down there, and the campus is beautiful. I really love the school," Byrnes explained. "They win their conference almost every other year. So it's obviously a great opportunity. And hopefully go to Omaha one day, would be my dream."