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Hunter Santana was an athlete for all seasons throughout his two years at East Haven High School. Hunter capped off his Yellowjackets’ run by enjoying a nice senior campaign in which he played shortstop and third base for the baseball team. (Photo courtesy of Hunter Santana )
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Hunter Santana transferred to East Haven in his junior year and wasted no time getting involved with sports at the high school. Hunter had played baseball at Hamden, but he suited up for the soccer, basketball, and baseball teams in East Haven, and made great strides as a result.
“I was a tri-sport athlete since last year, and it definitely helped me,” says Hunter. “I had to maintain my grades in order to play. It put the necessary pressure on me that I needed. It forced me to put the work in.”
Now a senior, Hunter recently completed his career as a member of the Easties’ baseball team. Baseball has always been Hunter’s main game, and he found his home as a middle infielder, primarily at shortstop.
“I feel my speed and my baseball IQ definitely help. Knowing what to do, when to do it, and how to react is why shortstop is for me,” Hunter says. “Short is one of the main positions on the field. You have multiple jobs. It’s not just fielding the ball.”
Hunter typically played shortstop whenever fellow senior Nate Furino took the mound for East Haven. When Furino wasn’t pitching, he played shortstop, and Hunter slid over to third base. It was a new position for Hunter, but he found his footing at the hot corner.
“When they say it’s the hot corner, they’re not lying. It was definitely different and something I had to get used to,” says Hunter. “Making that transition was a bit of a challenge for me the first few games, but I definitely liked it. You get used to it, but seeing how fast that ball comes, it gives me an energy rush to try to make the play. I love it.”
Head Coach Butch Johnson says that Hunter’s versatility made him an asset for the Yellowjackets. Johnson was pleased to see Hunter put in the extra effort that helped the senior have a solid season in 2019.
“He’s just an athlete. He can play anywhere,” Coach Johnson says. “When Hunter came in, he worked really hard, and he knew he had to do that if he was going to start. He took that with him and wound up having a good year.”
Hunter also saw plenty of success on the basketball court as a senior. Hunter’s work ethic landed him a spot in the starting lineup as a guard for Head Coach Ricky Narracci’s squad.
“[Narracci] told me at the end of last year that I have to want to play my senior year. I thought about that and then I started to get to school at 6 a.m. to shoot before class and earn my spot,” says Hunter. “I wanted to play. I needed to touch that court. I worked hard, got the opportunity, and it worked out.”
While he wasn’t the first option on the offensive end, Hunter made an impact for the Yellowjackets in other areas, particularly the leadership department.
“I try to help the team any way possible. You can’t win with one player, so you have to make sure the guys are doing what you have to do to win,” Hunter says. “It also shows the younger guys what they have to do.”
Hunter wanted an opportunity to continue playing sports at the next level. Next year, he will compete for the baseball team at Albertus Magnus College.
“It’s nerve-wracking, but I’m looking forward to it,” says Hunter. “College is different from high school, and I’m looking to work hard and do whatever I can to get that chance to play.”
Hunter has plenty of positive memories from his time as Yellowjackets’ athlete. Hunter thanks everyone who’s made his experience in East Haven such an enjoyable one.
“High school sports was the best thing ever for me. I loved every second of it,” Hunter says. “Between [Athletic Director] Anthony Verderame, [athletic facilitator] Jason Pierce, [athletic trainer] Marc Aceto, my coaches, my teammates—they made me love East Haven even more. They were the best. It was the best two years of my life, and I’ll never forget it.”
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