On the Mound

On the Mound

John Signore

Pitcher John Signore ’19, M’21 helped lead the Stags to a record-breaking 37-3 regular season.

I wanted to wear the Fairfield Stags red. I knew the opportunities I would have here; they wanted me, and it gave me a chance to continue playing a sport I love.

— John Signore ’19, M’21, Pitcher

John Signore’s pitching career though his baseball career at Fairfield began at Fairfield has been one of ups and downs — excellent performances, a significant injury, rehab, and then back to the mound.

Kind of like his team’s wildly swinging fortune over the past two seasons, as the Stags had their 2020 season canceled entirely because of Covid-19, only to follow with a magical 27-0 start to the 2021 campaign — leading them to the school’s first Top 25 national ranking.

Signore ’19, M’21 and the Stags are testaments to perseverance: the comeback kid was a major factor in his team’s stellar start to the 2021 campaign. In his first six outings he was 4-0 with a 3.64 earned run average in 29 innings of work, striking out 27 batters. That included a three-hit shutout against Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) rival Iona.

Thanks in part to Signore, Fairfield Baseball remained the only unbeaten Division I baseball team in the country with a perfect record through April, ranked #23 nationally by Baseball America and #2 in the national RPI (rating percentage index) — a formula used to help determine at-large bids for the NCAA postseason. Finishing the regular season in May at 37-3, the Stags were propelled to the MAAC Regular Season Championship for the eighth time in program history and the third under Head Coach Bill Currier, and earned the first at-large bid to the NCAA Championship in MAAC baseball history.

Needless to say, Signore, a Wallingford, Connecticut native and sixth-year grad student, was thrilled to be back throwing this spring, especially after last year’s Covid-19- related season cancellation.

“It was difficult when we had to stop playing,” said Signore. “We found out on the bus after one of the games we did manage to play. No one could put it into perspective what it meant. It wasn’t a happy time. We knew it would be safer for everyone but it didn’t make it any easier.”

Signore said that out of the “mess” was forged the spirit of a team that would roar through the first 27 contests of the 2021 season.

“We had to do our best to keep in shape even though we weren’t getting reps on the field. Our coaches did an amazing job meeting with us face-to-face virtually and giving us workout schedules. When this spring season began, we felt ready to go.”


John Signore ’19, M’21, Pitcher

Signore’s decision to attend Fairfield after starring in the classroom and on the baseball diamond for Xavier High School was a no-brainer, he said. “My dad (Stephen Signore A’02,’08) went here and I wanted to wear the Fairfield Stags red. I knew the opportunities I would have here; they wanted me, and it gave me a chance to continue play- ing a sport I love.

“I was a little sheltered in high school and when I came here it was so helpful to have a team around me right away. The coaching staff pushes you to take responsibility for yourself and your actions, and do what you have to do to get the job done.”

Last season’s cancellation was just one challenge Signore has had to deal with, even though his baseball career at Fairfield began with a flourish.

He had an impressive first-year campaign in 2016, and in 2017 he made the MAAC All-Tournament Team and won all four of his decisions. In the MAAC Championship opening round against Iona that year, he took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and struck out a career-high nine batters. In 2018, he blossomed into an All-MAAC First Team and was Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Week in late March.

Then, just when the needle was moving into the red, Signore was hit with an injury. He was a 2019 Preseason All-MAAC honoree, but arm problems forced him to the sideline and he did not appear in a game that year. He battled back and started the 2020 season, before the plug was pulled on the campaign.

“Because of my arm problems I had to become a different pitcher and I learned not to rely on any one pitch — my fastball. I’ve got a curveball and changeup that I use more now. I think about how to work hitters, not just try and throw it by them.”

His arm feels “fine” in 2021 and he credits his “regular” catcher Mike Caruso ’21 with helping him develop into a complete hurler.

As for the team, Signore, a grad student pursuing an MS in accounting and mulling a career as a research analyst, said it is, “well yeah, like a band of brothers.

“We have each other’s backs and it’s been a ‘next guy up’ attitude. We have probably 15 leaders on this team.”

“John is a great teammate,” said Fairfield head coach Bill Currier. “He’s always there to help the younger pitchers and he’s got a tremendous baseball mind. Most of the time we let him call his own game because of that. Even if his arm is not up to full strength the day he pitches, he finds ways to win. He’s a warrior out there and he finds ways to get the job done. He has great insight on hitters and where he can pitch to them and how he can get them out.”

For John Signore and his teammates, the Stags’ formula of personal accountability, a commitment to leadership, and being a family on and off the baseball diamond worked out magnificently in 2021.

Other Articles in the Summer 2021 Issue

Letter from the President

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Fighting Back

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From Raj to Republic

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Our Common Home

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Alumni Profile: Alexis Yannone '20 RN

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Alumni Profile: Erica (Trombly) Harp ’14, RN – BSN, CPLC

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Donor Profile: Shannon (Barry) and Steve J. Siwinski ’92, P’16

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