Academics

Justin Dunn '13 Makes MLB Debut for Mariners

Justin Dunn ’13 will make his Major League Baseball debut as the starting pitcher for the Seattle Mariners in a game against the Cincinnati Reds. When the Mariners’ No. 5-ranked prospect takes the mound at 10 p.m. (EST), he will be cheered on by his former coach, Jeff Trundy, along with students and faculty, who filmed their well-wishes in a brief video sent by the school today.
“I really still haven’t figured out how to put it into words, other than that it’s just my childhood dream has come true,” Dunn told the MLB’s Greg Johns in an interview on Tuesday. “I’m excited to get out there and finally take the mound.”

A native of Freeport, New York, Dunn was a student and varsity baseball player at The Gunnery from 2009 to 2013. After graduating, he was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 37th round but opted to attend Boston College. In 2016, while pitching for BC, Dunn was selected by the New York Mets as the 19th pick in the first round of the MLB draft. 

Gunnery faculty and alumni have monitored his trajectory, which briefly brought him back to Connecticut last summer, when he pitched for the Binghamton Rumble Ponies against the Hartford Yard Goats at Dunkin’ Donuts Park.

In an interview with ESPN Radio Network affiliate 710 AM ESPN Seattle in March, Dunn recalled what it was like when he first arrived at The Gunnery as a student. “My parents dropped me off and it was something like you see in the movies where I stood in the window and watched them drive off and looked around my room like, is this real?” he told the radio station, recalling that he began to develop as a ballplayer at the school, where he was an infielder. “I didn’t throw that hard,” he told the ESPN affiliate. “I would have thought I was a shortstop. I think that’s where a lot of my athleticism comes from. My arm action comes from playing shortstop.”

Trundy, who was named the Cape Cod Baseball League’s 2019 Manager of the Year and has served as manager of the Falmouth Commodores for 20 years, shared the news that the former Highlander “got the call that he would be moved to the big leagues” with the school community. “It was the culmination of a lot of work, a lot of dedication, a lot of frustration, but he made it. His first words to me when he called yesterday were, ‘We did it,’ with the emphasis on we,” said Trundy, who added that Dunn has never forgotten those who supported him along the way – his parents, his classmates, his teachers – or the friendships that he made at the school, which he says are lifelong.

“I was happy beyond words, so happy I even had trouble sleeping, but happy because of who he is. Not because he’s a big leaguer, but because of who he is. He deserves it. He earned it,” Trundy said, encouraging current students and faculty to follow Dunn as a Mariner. But he added, “He’ll always, always identify himself as a Gunnery Highlander.”
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Founded in 1850 by abolitionist, educator, and outdoorsman Frederick Gunn, The Gunnery is a coeducational college preparatory boarding and day school for students in grades 9 through 12/post-graduate. Dedicated teacher-mentor-coaches challenge students to reach their full potential in a home-like setting where character and citizenship are valued as much as intellect and achievement. Individualized attention and high expectations help young learners develop not only the skills and confidence they will need in college, but also the moral compass and love of learning that will serve them well in life. The school attracts ambitious, academically curious students who will both shine as unique individuals and thrive as contributing members of a deeply connected community. By the time they graduate, Gunnery students have become well rounded, grounded young adults with a sharpened sense of who they are and who they want to become.