NORTH SALEM, N.Y.-His former varsity baseball head coach Rob Gilchrist knew he would go far, but catcher Phil Capra has made serious progress since arriving at Wagner College.

The starting junior played most of last season as the primary catcher and is off to a hot start in 2018. He was nominated for the prestigious Johnny Bench Award a few days before being named Northeast Conference co-player of the week two weeks ago.

This is because Capra slammed three home runs to pair with nine RBI in five starts. He recorded at least one hit in each game.

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Capra, a four-year varsity player at North Salem, was voted a second-team all-conference player in both his sophomore and freshman years at Wagner.

He started all 50 games as a sophomore with 31 starts at catcher, 16 at first base and three at designated hitter. He hit a team-leading .351 and had a .453 on-base percentage, which were both good for third in the Northeast Conference. He had 42 RBI, seven home runs and 17 multi-hit games.

Through 15 games this season he’s hitting .350 with six home runs and 21 RBI.

Much of his success is credited to the student athlete’s work ethic that dates back to his high school days.

“I worked out all the time in high school,” said Capra, who studies finance at Wagner. “Whether it was with coach Gilchrist and the team, or with my dad and brother. I put a lot of time into baseball to get where I am today.”

Now a few years into playing Division I college baseball, Capra continues to indulge the one of a kind experience as a student.

“It’s awesome,” Capra said. “Coming out of high school, I always wanted to play college baseball. Getting the opportunity to play here at Wagner is a dream come true. I want to make it worthwhile, so I’ve tried to compete for playing time since I was a freshman. Being able to travel around to different parts of the country to play a game is truly a blessing. I love the culture here.”

The Wagner College Seahawks have already played schools like Virginia Tech and the University of Central Florida when it took a trip to Orlando. The Seahawks didn’t win any of their close games on the road trip but have zoomed on a four-game winning streak since then.

They reached the NEC Conference tournament last season and hope to do more damage this year.

“The No. 1 goal is to get the NEC Championship,” Capra said.

Capra is unsure of what the future holds, but he wants baseball to be a part of it. If it won’t be, the student is also prepared.

“I’d love to go play baseball at the next level,” Capra said. “But you’re going to be a former player longer than you’re going to be a current player. I’ll have to start looking for one of those real jobs.”