DARIEN—When Casey Brown entered the Darien High School baseball program he did so with one thing on his mind.

Get to the Division I level.

That goal has been realized as now, in the summer before his senior year, Brown has committed to play baseball at Fordham University in the Spring of 2018.

“To see him put all that work in and for his dream to come to fruition—there’s nothing better,” Darien manager Mike Scott said. “I know a kid like Casey is going to enjoy every minute of that experience, I couldn’t be happier for Casey and where he’s heading.”

As is always the case with student-athletes picking a college that’s right for them, several factors went into the lefty-hitting first baseman’s decision, starting with the proximity of the Fordham--located in the Bronx--to his home.

“It’s a good situation for my family, I’m close to home,” Brown said. “Former catcher from Darien Andrew DiMeglio pitches there now so at least I know someone on the team, I love the campus and the city; the campus is like Connecticut but it’s got the city surrounding it—I just love that combo. It’s got a great baseball field and I love the coaches; I felt like I was at home when I was there.”

Getting his decision made before the school year started was a key for Brown, who also had interest from DI schools Georgetown and Northeastern as well as Division II Franklin Pierce and multiple DIII programs.

“Every time I see my dad we take a deep breath,” Brown said. “I’m finally done with the long process, the worrying is over. Baseball-wise you play so much better stress-free because you’re not constantly worried about coaches looking at you, it’s a huge relief having that off your shoulders.”

That should only help Brown’s numbers heading into senior year. Hitting from the three-spot all season in 2017 Brown batted .338 with four homers and a school-record 32 RBIs.

Brown was the Blue Wave’s hottest hitter at the end of the season, helping lead them to an FCIAC title and the second round of the state playoffs.

“He started out the year pretty hot and fell off a little bit in the middle then came on really strong at the end when we needed him to,” Scott said. “The ability has always been there, like any other baseball player he’ll have some highs and lows and I think the Casey we saw at the end of the last year is what we knew was there.”

Brown’s stress-free mindset will be key as his ability is no secret to the rest of the league, and Scott expects opponents to focus on quieting his bat.

“Next year will be a challenge for him,” Scott said. “He’ll be known throughout the league, he’ll be attacked differently by other teams; they’re not going to let Casey Brown beat them. He’ll have to refine his approach but there’s no doubt in my mind he’s ready for a big senior year.”

aparelli@bcnnew.com @reportedbytheAP