FIRST PERSON STORIES

Last Licks for Kevin Kolesar

by Joe Morris After coming off of a career year for the Queens College Knights in 2016, making 1st team All-Conference, batting .350 with an on-base-percentage of .442 while swiping 31 bags, adversity struck for senior shortstop and captain Kevin Kolesar. In 2016, Kolesar felt some pain in his left shoulder, but was willing-and-able to play throughout the season and go on to be one of the best players in the conference.  Unfortunately, the dynamic shortstop felt some discomfort in his left shoulder again on a swing during an intra-squad scrimmage early in the 2017 season, and this time he knew it was trouble. “It happened during practice, the extension and the finish of my swing was where I felt the pop and I was in extreme pain.” As he attempted to play through the injury again, Kolesar f...

Tommy Ziegen: Reflecting on Derek Jeter’s Career

(Editor’s Note: Tommy Ziegen is a 2017 graduate of SUNY Old Westbury. He has twice been named to our All-Long Island team and will make it this year as well. He batted .408 with 6 HR, 40 RBI, 39 runs scored, 13 doubles, 3 triples, .692 SLG, .446 OBP and 19 stolen bases. He will be participating in our Battle of the Border All-Star Game on May 30 at Hofstra University. The following words are his own.) I was never into comic books growing up.   I did have a bunch of posters on my wall though, and as far as I’m concerned there was a superhero on every single one of them. However, this superhero didn’t wear a mask, and he didn’t wear a cape. He wore a jersey, with pinstripes, and he wore the number 2. That’s the best way to describe my admiration for the captain. I looked up to him...

Tyler Badamo: My Message to MLB Draft Hopefuls

(Tyler Badamo is a 2014 graduate of Dowling College. He was selected by the New York Mets in the 24th round of the MLB Draft. He was named All-American for his tremendous season in which he compiled a stretch of 72.1 consecutive innings in which he did not allow an earned run. The following words are his own.) The biggest thing I think everyone needs to realize before I go into what I tried to focus on personally, is that the MLB draft is one of the biggest crap shoots in the world. There are thousands of potential prospects eligible for the draft each year and now only 40 rounds. You can do everything right 99% of the time and still not get drafted. There are plenty of outstanding college seniors every single year that don’t get the call to postpone the real world for a little while...

Charles Galiano: My Letter to the Game of Baseball

(Editor’s Note: Charles Galiano was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2012 MLB Draft out of Commack high school and again by the Milwaukee Brewers out of Fordham University. He recently announced his retirement from the game of baseball after two seasons in the minor leagues due to a persistent shoulder injury. The following words are his own, as he bids farewell to the game he loves) Dear Baseball, Sitting here on the plane right now back to New York thinking about what baseball has done for me, I have nothing but immense gratitude and love towards this game. This game has given me damn near everything since I picked up a ball and a bat heading to my first tee ball game at Commack South Little League. I remember sitting on the floor with my brother nervous as can be about ...

JJ McLaughlin Opens Up About Dealing With Life’s Unforeseen Tragedies

(Editor’s Note: JJ is a pitcher for Nassau Community College. He was forced to deal with the tragic loss of both his mother and father just over one year apart) by JJ McLaughlin Baseball has been my therapy through it all. I’ve been playing since I was little and I don’t know if I would be here without it being a major part of my life. I have gone through so much within such a short period of time and at such a young age, many people question how I am still in school and how I am even still playing baseball. I graduated high school in 2011 and went onto play at Monroe College for my freshman year. When I left for school everything was fine, but before I knew it, my whole world started to fall apart. My dad was diagnosed with Melanoma cancer in the fall of 2012. That was when I knew m...

Nick Fanti on His Experience in the World Baseball Classic

by Nick Fanti My experience in the world baseball classic is something that I can’t stop talking about. A moment I want to talk about is the first game vs Mexico. I will never say the Italian team was an underdog in this bracket because we were not. We belonged there because we knew what kind of team we had and we showed that we belonged in that game We were down four going into the bottom of the ninth and we were actually the home team against the host Mexico with one of the best closers in baseball on the mound in Roberto Osuna. We came back to score five runs without Mexico recording a single out. We dog piled, and I got some tv time. You will never see a stadium flip from loud to silent like that stadium did that night. But the significance of this game to me was crazy and differ...

Anthony Fontana: Why I Chose Furman University

by Anthony Fontana It all started in Fort Myers, FL for the Perfect Game tournament. Game 3 under the lights at Terry Park. I stepped up to the plate, I got a first pitch fastball and absolutely crushed a line drive over the center fielder for a double. Standing on second base it was just a regular RBI double to me but little did I know that double would change my life. A few days later when the tournament was over, I received an email from coach Taylor Harbin, assistant coach at Furman University . Once I saw Furman University emailed me, I was excited because of how awesome their conference is. So Coach Harbin and I spoke for a little while about the program and I decided to go on a visit to Furman. A little before my visit i went to a few other schools–one of them being Arizona St...

Chris Cruz: A Story of Power-Hitting, Perserverance and High-Intellect

When Chris Cruz failed the first test of his life he was not pleased. Not that anyone is ever pleased to fail a test–but for Chris, he went through his entire youth without ever experiencing much failure and now a freshman at the prestiguous Cornell University, he was now starting his college career in a way he never could’ve imagined. “It definitely made me revamp the way I was going to go about things,” said the 2010 graduate of Bay Shore HS. Things always came easily for Chris–whether it be in the classroom (he graduated in the top 10% of his class with a 91 GPA), or on the diamond or the basketball and volleyball court. Thus is life for Ivy League student-athletes, who are forced to deal with the added pressure of maintaining strong grades while also honor...

Matt Reistetter On Handling Adversity

(Editor’s Note: Matt is a four-year member of the Washington Nationals minor league system. He is a 2010 graduate of Hauppauge HS and was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Hofstra University in 2013. He has compiled a .272 AVG through four seasons.) by Matt Reistetter When my father passed away when I was 14–baseball saved me. When my girlfriend passed away when I was 16–baseball saved me. My mind is the strongest tool I possess. I can handle adversity. I can handle the grind. A season in the minor leagues is a grind. Especially during August. Every aspect of your life is strictly regimented to a set of routines you’ve established since Spring Training. Except on that day you get the text from the trainer, “No BP, no early work. Report at 6. Show and Go.” These day...

Man Of Steel: How Eric Russo Finds Inspiration To Overcome Life’s Obstacles

Editor’s Note: Eric is a 2017 graduate of Centereach HS. He is uncommitted at the moment, but has put himself on the radar since this past summer when his velocity spiked from the upper 70s to mid 80s. ) By Eric Russo There have been many things that have held me back throughout my life– both on and off of the field. Tryouts will be Jan. 15 at MacArthur HS! The most prominent of which occurred before I could even take the field. My family has had to persevere through some struggles the last few years that no family should ever have to deal with. I was born with two special needs siblings; my sister that has cerebral palsy, and my little brother that has autism. So taking care of them has always been more important and had to come before baseball. This become more prominent when my dad died...

Greg Weissert on His Successful 2016 Season

Photo Credit: Fordham University Athletics (Editor’s Note: Greg is a 2013 graduate of Bay Shore HS. He was selected by the New York Yankees in the 18th round of the MLB Draft out of Fordham University.) by Greg Weissert My last season at Fordham was the spring of 2016, and it was one that I will never forget. Although at times it was extremely stressful–with the thought of the draft never far from my mind–I tried not to let that take away from the fun and competiveness that came with playing with my teammates, maybe for the last time. Playing with the draft process in full effect was a new experience for me. I had to focus on my game, working to prepare for every start and keeping my emotions in check. It was fun and exciting, but at the same time, it was absolutely nerve wracking. 2017 tr...

Branden Falco Discusses How He Persevered Through Injuries

(Editor’s Note: Branden is a 2017 graduate of Kings Park HS. Today he announced he has committed to LIU Post. His fastball sits in the low-to-mid 80s.) By Branden Falco My baseball career has been a bumpy flight. When I started playing baseball at 8-years-old, pitching was my first love. When I was 13, I started feeling tingling down my arm when I threw. I went to an orthopedic surgeon Dr. Scott Alpert and he sent me for an MRI. It came back showing a swollen rotator cuff and my labrum was very loose. After hearing that, the beginning of my freshman year I began training with Xceleration sports training. When I went there for my evaluation, the manager, Steve Wilk, stated that if I want to pitch in college, I need to shut it down until 11th grade and just play a position. This was to...

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