GARRET MEADE PHOTO
Whether playing for Connecticut, North Fork or the East All Stars, Billy Ferriter racks up hits and stolen bases.
JAMAICA — It had crossed Billy Ferriter’s mind that he could be a candidate for the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League All-Star Game’s most valuable player honor, but he didn’t entertain the thought for long. “I thought maybe, but I actually said it before, the losing team never gets the award,” he said.
And Ferriter was on the losing side.
Despite the North Fork Ospreys left fielder’s considerable efforts — going 4 for 4 with four stolen bases and one run — the East All Stars were downed, 4-1, by the West All Stars on Monday night at St. John’s University’s Jack Kaiser Stadium. But Ferriter’s performance spoke for itself and brought him the MVP designation.
“It’s a great honor,” Ferriter said. “It stinks that we lost, but it’s still a good honor to get the MVP of the game.”
No complaints were heard from the West about Ferriter’s selection.
“I would have to say that that is a very impressive feat,” West Manager Evan Davis of the Jersey Pilots said. “The fact that he got the all-star MVP and he was on a losing team just goes to show what kind of a day he had. That pretty much shows it right there.”
Riverhead Tomcats pitcher Mike Zaccardo, one of nine pitchers who worked an inning for the East, was not among those awed by Ferriter’s performance — and for good reason. As Ferriter’s college teammate at Connecticut, Zaccardo knows full well what Ferriter is capable of doing.
“Pretty typical Bill,” Zaccardo said. “I’ve been watching him do that all year. He’s a speedy player.”
In starting all 60 games that he played for the Huskies last season, Ferriter registered a .363 batting average, 30 runs batted in, 57 runs and was successful on 33 of his 39 stolen-base attempts.
Ferriter has carried that sort of production over to the Ospreys. In 21 games, all of which he started, Ferriter held a .375 batting average, 10 RBI, 27 runs and stole all 11 bases he bolted for. Not only that, but Ferriter has been a plus on defense as well, with errorless play in the field. He made 30 putouts with one assist.
“He plays the game hard,” said Ospreys Manager Shawn Epidendio, who managed the East team. “He can run. He beats out balls to second base most of the time. He puts pressure on the defense.”
SILENCE FOR THE ‘VOICE OF GOD’ Once again, the mellifluous voice of Bob Sheppard echoed over Jack Kaiser Stadium.
Sheppard, the longtime public-address announcer for Major League Baseball’s New York Yankees and the National Football League’s New York Giants, died on Sunday. The man said to have the “voice of God” was 99 years old.
Sheppard was also a standout athlete for St. John’s. He was enshrined in the St. John’s University Sports Hall of Fame, having earned seven varsity letters as a first baseman for the baseball team and quarterback for the football team.
A moment of silence was observed before the all-star game in memory of Sheppard. Immediately afterward, a recording was played of Sheppard dedicating Jack Kaiser Stadium after it was built in 2000.
A SHOWCASE FOR SCOUTS One of the purposes of the all-star game is to serve as a showcase for the ACBL’s top players. Major league scouts, radar guns in hand, were in their customary seats behind home plate, keeping their eyes on the action. That sort of exposure didn’t appear unsettling to the players, however, and for good reason: It wasn’t anything they hadn’t experienced before.
Asked if it was nerve-wracking, East pitcher Mike Zaccardo of the Riverhead Tomcats replied: “Not at all. You get used to it after a while.”
West Manager Evan Davis said: “Most of the kids that you would get in an all-star game like this have a little bit of experience with that type of setting. We just told them the most important thing that you want to do out here is to have fun. You want to showcase the skills that you have.
“Most of these kids have been in these type of situations with radar guns and a whole bunch of scouts back there,” Davis continued. “It’s an important process to go through because it’s your one opportunity to shine and show them what you can do, but at the same time you got to keep it in perspective.”
RALLY BUYS WEST AT-BATS West Manager Evan Davis was grateful for his team’s three-run fourth inning for more than just the obvious reason. The inning in which the West produced half of its 12 hits brought the team nine valuable at-bats. Davis said the rally pretty much guaranteed that most of his players would have at least two at-bats in the game. “For the all-star game, when you have a full 25-man roster and only nine positions, it’s kind of difficult to make sure you get everybody in and make everybody happy,” he said. “I’m just happy that I was able to do that.”
SEVEN OSPREYS, FIVE TOMCATS SELECTED The Hampton Division-leading North Fork Ospreys were well represented at the all-star game. Left fielder Billy Ferriter started the game along with catcher Kurt Schlangen (0 for 3), third baseman Sebastian Grazziani (0 for 4) and second baseman Ryan Brockett (0 for 1, walk). Eric Williams (0 for 1) of the Ospreys entered the game as a designated hitter. Kevin Gottlieb of the Ospreys pitched a hitless inning of relief with one strikeout. Ospreys pitcher James Stone was also selected to the all-star team but did not play because of injury.
Riverhead Tomcats center fielder Matt Fleishman was in the starting lineup. He struck out twice, but made a nice diving catch in the second inning, charging in on a shallow fly ball hit by Zack Graczyk. Two other Tomcats, shortstop Jeff Welsh (0 for 1) and catcher Chase Fowler (0 for 1, one RBI), also played in the field. Two Tomcats pitchers, Mike Zaccardo (two strikeouts) and Joey Novak (one hit, one strikeout), each pitched an inning of scoreless relief.
The East was managed by Shawn Epidendio of the Ospreys. Among the team’s coaches were Tomcats Manager Randy Caden and Brian Hansen of the Ospreys.