Surrounded by proud family members, teachers, peers, and the coaches who have seen him grow as an extraordinary athlete, James Raidt ’23 committed to playing baseball at Duke University after signing an early NCAA Division I National Letter of Intent on Wednesday, November 9, at a ceremony held in King’s upper school gymnasium.
“It's truly an honor to be signing my commitment to Duke to truly make it official and a reality,” James said. “I knew as long as I kept my nose to the grindstone and worked hard that it would someday become a reality.”
James, the son of Karen Raidt, Assistant Director of Global Education and Director of King Cares Service and Student Services, was first enrolled at King in the faculty daycare program in 2005. As a lower school student, he enjoyed the school’s Physical Education program and continued his passion for athletics in the Middle School, where he played baseball, football, and basketball.
In the upper school athletics program, his 2020 freshman year spring season was lost to the COVID pandemic. Despite this setback, James found creative ways to keep his skills sharp. Using an old tarp and a can of spray paint, James created a strike zone that was hung behind a scarecrow-like batting dummy fashioned from an old fence.
“It looked like something you’d throw into at a carnival to win a stuffed animal, yet to you, the stakes were much bigger,” said Emily Prince, Assistant Director of College Counseling and Director of Student-Athlete Leadership at King, as she addressed James in front of friends, coaches, and family at the signing ceremony.
His efforts paid off, returning stronger for the modified spring 2021 season, where he was recognized as an All-FAA athlete by the Fairchester Athletics Association.
In his junior year, King named James captain of the Viking’s baseball team for his efforts and leadership. As a starting pitcher in the same season, he was again named an All-FAA and All-New England athlete.
This spring, James will enter his senior year season as a New England Baseball Journal First Team All-New England selection and will look to lead his fellow Vikings to the FAA and New England postseason.
Outside of King, James plays nationally for Tucci Elite and has also played for Time to Sign Scout. Highlights over his past several seasons include playing on the New York Yankees regional team for the Area Code Games in San Diego, playing for the New York Yankees scout team against the Red Sox Northeast scout team, participating in the Perfect Game Showcase, and pitching for the Red Sox scout team in the Perfect Game WWBA World Championship in Florida.
During an interview with NBC 12, head varsity baseball coach Ryan Quinn noted that this accomplishment was the result of James’ commitment and dedication for the past five years, adding that “he works every day to get better, no matter what position he’s playing.”
In addition to his commitment to baseball, James is a dedicated student and member of his school community. He works tirelessly to meet the King’s rigorous academic standards and participates in several of the school’s service-learning programs. The Connecticut Student-Athlete Community Service Network recently recognized his dedication through a national leadership nomination.
Reflecting back on his time at King, James recognizes the support, dedication, and encouragement he has received throughout the years. “There have been several coaches and teachers that have helped me through my 17 years at King, and without them, I wouldn't be where I am today.”