After dominating Morris County hitters for the past two seasons, Brian Rapp is ready to embark of his newest baseball challenge. And he'll be traveling more than 1,000 miles for it.
Rapp, this spring's Morris County Player of the Year, will not be returning to Delbarton for his senior season. Instead he is transferring to the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.
For Rapp, who will be joined at IMG Academy by Luke Bonfield of Immaculata, the decision was one of the most difficult he's ever had to make.
"It was extremely difficult. Me and my parents took a while to think about it and we had to weigh all of the different options," said Rapp, a Boston College commit. "Obviously there's positives and negatives to everything, but we just felt at this point it was best for me with my career and where I want to go and where I aspire to go.
"It's going to be a culture shock, it's going to be a change, but it's something I've come to the realization that I think it's what's best for me and where I want to go in life. Anything I can do to see myself grow as a person and as an athlete."
Rapp and Bonfield will heading down to Florida later this month to attend IMG Academy, which doubles as both a prep school as well as a world-class athletic training facility.
A three-year varsity player at Delbarton, Rapp emerged as one of the state's premier starting pitchers. After beginning the season in the bullpen, Rapp moved into the rotation midway through the year and won all four of his starts. Rapp, a Second Team All-State selection, went 7-0 with a 0.45 ERA and two saves. He struck out 69 batters in 47 innings, allowing 29 hits and 12 walks.
As a sophomore in 2012, his work in relief and at shortstop made him a key cog for a Delbarton squad which won the Morris County Tournament and reached the NJSIAA North Jersey, Non-Public A title game.
"Delbarton is the greatest school I could have ever asked to go to the last three years. It's just an unbelievable place, unbelievable people," Rapp said. "That was probably the hardest thing, leaving Coach (Bruce) Shatel and not being able to play for him one more year. I learned so much under him. I got pretty emotional when I talked to him about it. I've learned so much and I feel like I've grown up and matured so much over the last three years under his tutelage."
Bonfield, was an All-Somerset County First Team selection in 2013 as a junior. He hit .375 with five home runs, 36 RBI and a 1.098 OPS for Immaculata. Bonfield currently holds scholarship offers from Georgia Tech, Arkansas, BYU, Oklahoma State, Mississippi State and others.
"I’m looking to maximize my options in my senior year and work against the best competition, so I am excited to head to IMG Academy,” Bonfield said in a release from the academy. “I really felt like this gave me the best opportunity to focus on baseball as much as I would like, while maintaining my academics."