There is a different attitude surrounding the St. Joseph’s baseball team this spring. They’re a more cohesive group than a season ago, and it has the Marauders atop the Monsignor Martin Athletic Association nearing the midpoint of their season.
Senior captain Tyler Ferretti has had much to do with that.
Ferretti, a three-year starter in his final season at St. Joe’s, is all about the team.
“Just because I’m a senior doesn’t mean I should be in every game,” he said. “If I’m not producing, I shouldn’t be playing. I’m just trying to get us a win.”
“That’s him to a tee,” classmate Zach Zenger said. “He doesn’t care about the personal stats. He wants to win a championship.”
Ferretti is a player you build a team around. Unfortunately for St. Joe’s, his time is limited. Coach Paul Nasca hopes his attitude lives on, though, and that’s why this year’s team motto — “Live humble, work hard, dream big” — was inspired by Ferretti. “He embodies that spirit all the way,” Nasca said.
With a young team this season, Ferretti knew coming in he had to be a leader. The captaincy was merely a title — one Nasca knew was the correct one after a meeting with Ferretti and the other seniors in the offseason.
At the end of the meeting, Ferretti left the first-year coach with this message: “I understand exactly what you want out of this program. You tell me what you need from me, and I’ll deliver it any way I can.”
The senior shortstop hasn’t let the “C” make him power hungry, though. Having been the “younger guy” on the team before, he knows the ups and downs an underclassman or inexperienced player can go through.
As a sophomore playing his first season at the varsity level, he got down on himself after poor at-bats. Words from the coaching staff would pick him back up for the next one.
Then, in a game at St. Francis against one of the top pitchers in the league, he ripped a two-strike, two-out, two-RBI single down the left field line to take the lead.
“That hit gave me a lot of confidence. I thought if I can hit him, I can hit anyone,” he said. “It’s gotten to the point where I am very comfortable at the plate, and I think I can hit anyone.”
St. Joe’s ended up losing that day, but that hit gave them many more wins since. Perhaps the biggest was at Canisius last season. With the Marauders tied 1-1 with the Crusaders entering the sixth inning, Ferretti led off with a single and later scored the eventual-winning run in a 7-1 win.
But it was the words from the coaches that showed him how beneficial a little extra attention and some veteran advice can be.
Zenger, who is in his first varsity season, said Ferretti always takes the time to give advice on at-bats whenever he asks. He gets him to relax, which has been a big help.
Despite hitting at a .314 clip with 11 hits and 13 RBIs through 11 games this season, Ferretti prefers to talk about the team as the reason for his success, especially with Tyler Mills and Jared Baldinelli ahead of him in the lineup.
“(Those guys) help a lot. It does leave the fielders on the other team a tough chance because they don’t know if we’re going to hit-and-run, bunt.” said Ferretti, who hits third. “They’re moving bases, they’re stealing, they’re doing everything they can. So, it gives me a better look at the plate.”
Ferretti will be taking his talents to Ithaca College in the fall. It’s unclear what role he will play, but at St. Joe’s, there’s no question.
“He’s our backbone,” Nasca said. “Big spirit.”