Morissette making Nashua his second home with Knights

Staff photo by TOM KING Nashua Silver Knights infielder Cody Morissette is always thinking duirng every at bat, which is why he's adjusted well right out of high school to the summer collegiate level.

NASHUA – When you think about it, it’s really fitting that Exeter’s Cody Morissette is finally playing for a Nashua team.

The Silver Knights shortstop and former Exeter High School three sport standout spent a lot of time as a youth in the city, being around his father Dave, the former longtime Rivier University men’s basketball coach.

“I was (at Riv) all the time, all the time,” Morissette, who is bound for Boston College this fall, said. “I spent most of my summers here, at all the basketball camps he used to run. I’ve been coming to Nashua forever.”

In fact, Morissette used to come to Nashua Pride games with his father, giving him a strong identification with the youths in the stands at Silver Knights games.

“I used to be the kid running around in the stands chasing foul balls,” he said with a grin. “I was the kid on the side of the dugout, trying to get those broken bats. It’s kind of cool being on the other side of it, being able to hang out with these kids (fans) and give them what they want.”

Morissette has been giving the Silver Knights what they want – despite the team’s overall struggles – which is stability at shortstop. He is one of the incoming freshmen that has adjusted to the collegiate level of play easily, just a month or so removed from winning a state high school championship with Exeter.

“He didn’t go through that period (of adjustment) that a lot of high school players go through,” Silver Knights manager B.J. Neverett said. “It really surprised me. He came in and hit immediately. The velocity from change in pitching from high school in New Hampshire, to this level, he picked it right up.”

“I’ve seen some really good pitchers last year (in travel baseball, etc.),” he said. “But seeing guys night in, night out here, this is definitely the highest level I’ve seen.”

Morissette certainly has aspirations like any kid of playing the game on the professional level, but his other dream is to play college baseball. So right now, this is the beginning of that dream.

“The best path for me to go is college baseball,” he said. “My dream was to go to Boston College. I want to play ACC baseball and be close to my family.”

Originally Morissette wanted to play at a school down south. But he says his father urged him to visit Boston College. “I didn’t want to go at first,” he said. “And ever since (his visit), this is the school for me. I dream about playing there, playing at the new field, playing every day and seeing if I can compete.”

Nashua teams, other than the Silver Knights, will be glad to see him go as he tortured them for the Blue Hawks as a football quarterback, a basketball guard or a baseball pitcher/shortstop.

“It was a fun ride at Exeter,” he said. “It just got me ready for the next step in my life.”

The three sport athlete is often an exception than the rule these days. Morissette said when he was six years old, he realized he wanted to play baseball. But being at Rivier all the time, he enjoyed basketball. And, as he says, being at Exeter, “You have to play football; Friday Night Lights, there’s nothing like it.

“My parents always told me, play all three sports; if you don’t, you’re going to regret it. Once you get to college, you stick with one.”

In fact, Morissette says playing football and basketball has prepared him for the challenge of college baseball. “You get a little bit of everything, honestly,” Morissette said. “Football taught me the grind, how to be mentally tough, how to play every play at the highest level you can.

“Basketball taught me a lot of physical (things) like speed, plays, how to play at a high level when the pressure was on. I learned so many things from those two sports. You might not put baseball, basketball, and football all together. But it all blends together. Not specializing in one sport has helped me.”

In fact, playing all three sports seems to have increased Morissette’s stamina, though you’d think he might be exhausted. He’s anything but.

“I’m not tired right now,” he said. “I’m living my dream. There are some days, you see it, it’s a long season. I’m not used to (playing every day). But I get to come here and play in front of all these fans, at a high level, and it’s a great group of guys.

XXXXXX

It was nearly three years ago when Dave Morissette stepped away just at the start of the season from his longtime career at Rivier. The reason? He was offered a job in the private sector that would allow him the time to watch his sons compete as well as be recruited by schools.

“When he was coaching, he was always intense because he cared a lot,” Morissette said. “It was sad the day he left coaching. It was very sad for me as I looked up to him, but I looked up to him even more because he gave up what he worked for his entire life, to make it easier on us and be home at night and watch us (play). I love him to death for it.”

Thus it’s no surprise that Morissette wants to become a coach someday. He remembers when Rivier made the NCAA men’s hoop tournement in 2007. “That was the best, that was the dream year,” he said. “Going to watch them was awesome. It’s hard to win. It’s hard to win at any level.”

When Morissette plays for the Silver Knights, he’s adjusted to the speed of the game. Neverett has talked to him about rushing plays, to calm down, etc.

“(Shortstop) is a hard position to play,” Neverett said. “And he’s learning. He gets better, and he learns quick.”

That’s what you’d expect from the son of a coach.

“You tell him something once, you don’t have to tell him again,” Neverett said.

In fact, Neverett said that Morissette reminds him of former Knights shortsop Johnny Adams, who was in Nashua the second year high school grads were allowed to play. He’s now in the Mariners farm system. “When he left here, we said, ‘He’s going to have a good career.’ And Cody is goin g to be very successful.”

Neverett thinks, besides his play at short, the Morissette could excel also at third.

“It’s hard to say,” he said. “I would not be shocked to see him play third base at B.C. He’s got a great arm, he’s very athletic. He’d be a very athletic third baseman. I don’t think he’d play second because his arm is too good.”

Morissette thinks things through.

“As for pitching, the speed hasn’t been a problem, it’s trying to adjust to different types of pitches,” he said. “These kids don’t just throw fastballs for strikes. They throw changeups where they want them, curve balls, sliders. I’ve slowly adjusted and learned.”

Morissette tried his best to focus on his high school season, despite knowing he’d be playing at a collegiate level during the summer. He went out a winner winning a title with Exeter with his younger brother Josh, a Blue Hawk freshman, as a teammate. “Being able to walk off the field together (as champions) in my final high school game, that was probably one of the most special moments of my life.”

He’d like to have one more special moment, winning at Holman.

“We’ve got a great group of guys,” Morissette said. “We have to put some wins together, it’s crunch time. I’m not used to (losing).”

He likely won’t be red shirted at B.C., not after what he’s proven here.

“He’s a great kid,” Neverett said. “He’s got great pop, very mature, a great student, he’s going to be very successful. He’s got a good future, he’s going to do well.”