It was his performance at the plate that attracted the attention of nearly every Division I baseball power in the country. But it was the University of Georgia that ultimately won him over.
"As soon as I walked on to the campus I felt at home right away and it felt like a good fit," he said. "The coaches and players approached me, unlike at a lot of other schools where it was the other way around."
Bichette Jr. says there is a chance that if "the situation is right" after next month's Major League Baseball draft he may forego college, but he quickly added that it's too soon to even think about that.
Georgia coach David Perno, who Bichette Jr. said told him the third baseman's job was his to lose, is certainly hoping the multi-dimensional player arrives in Athens in the fall.
"Dante is one of the headliners of our signing class because he does a lot of things well," Perno said in a press release. "He has the most power in our class, it's in his genes. He's a corner infielder and will be a great fit here."
Orangewood Christian played Friday in the regional semifinals against Father Lopez — the Rams defeated Lopez 6-3 in the District 7-2A finals April 29 — as the next step in their quest to win the school's first state baseball title and complete a goal that Bichette Jr. says would be the highlight of his career. And while most would think there's an enormous amount of pressure on Kunkel to win it all since he's coaching a former big leaguer's son, the skipper says nothing could be farther from the truth.
"The Bichettes are great people," Kunkel said. "They've been real supportive of me and have really let me do my thing. The only pressure I feel is to make sure my team is ready. At the end of the day the kids want to win a state title and I want to make sure I do everything I can to help them fulfill their dreams."
Bichette Jr. dreams of one day playing on the sport's grandest stage – the major leagues. But if that doesn't work out, both he and his famous father will be perfectly content.
"If it doesn't work out I want to stay in the game of baseball," said Bichette Jr., who plans to major in a sports-related field at Georgia. "I want to be a coach and keep baseball in my life. As my dad says, ‘If playing in the pros is in the cards, great, if not, you'll have a good fallback.'"Jon Buzby is the sports columnist for the Newark Post, a freelance writer, and on the broadcast team for the 1290AM The Ticket High School Football and Basketball Games of the Week. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.