It didn’t take long for people to recognize John Willette’s baseball talents.
Just a week into the collegiate baseball season, Willette – a Johnston resident and former multi-talented All-Stater at Bishop Hendricken High School in Warwick – was voted the Little East Conference Rookie of the Week.
Although Willette – whose father Gene owns and operates the popular Cherry Hill Grill in Johnston – is listed as a freshman utility player, he landed his most recent baseball honor while playing first base for the Rhode Island College Anchormen.
He played in four RIC games and helped the Anchormen post a 3-1 record and batted .308 – 4 for 13 – with five runs scored, four hits, three homers, seven RBI and four walks.
The son of Gene and Paula Willette of Johnston, his first collegiate hit was a grand slam home run in RIC’s 11-1 win vs. Fontbones, on March 6. He also homered in a 3-2 win over Husson College of Maine on March 7 then went 2-for-5 with two runs scored, a homer and two RBI in a 9-8 setback vs. St. Mary’s of Minnesota on March 8.
The 5-foot-, 11-inch, 190-pound Willette – as noted - played his high school baseball at Bishop Hendricken in Warwick under Head Coach Ed Holloway and was a three-time first team All-State selection while leading the Hawks to the Rhode Island Interscholastic League’s state championship in 2014 and 2015.
Willette was named Most Valuable Player of the 2015 state championship tournament and graduated in 2016. He then enrolled at the University of Rhode Island and later New England College before becoming a member of the Anchormen this year. He bats right, throws right and is a secondary education major at RIC.