Joe Tardif is heading to the State University of New York at Cortland.
Well, not yet Mattituck High School sports fans, but Tardif said Monday that he has given the school his verbal commitment to play baseball for the reigning NCAA Division III baseball champions next year.
Until then, Tardif will continue to play in three sports he has starred for the Tuckers — soccer, basketball and, of course, baseball.
“Joe could have picked a lot of places, but Cortland won him over,” said the Tuckers’ baseball coach, Steve DeCaro.
After visiting the Cortland campus, checking out the facilities and meeting with the coaches, Cortland was a no-brainer for Tardif. It certainly did not hurt that 2015 graduate and shortstop Marcos Perivolaris, who was also on Mattituck’s New York State Class B championship team, decided to attend the upstate school.
“Their campus is beautiful,” Tardif said. “Their workout facilities were awesome. The baseball is just amazing; an all-natural grass field. So it’ll be fun.”
The Mattituck boys soccer coach, Will Hayes, was pleased Tardif made his decision already.
“He’ll have a good support system up there,” Hayes said. “I think for the first time since I’ve been with him, he will have the opportunity to relax. I’m really happy that he’s made his commitment because he doesn’t have to think about where he’s going to school. He doesn’t have to think about what he needs to do to make himself better, to make himself a more attractive proposition to schools. He can just be Joe, which is really exciting because he worked so hard this summer.”
“He is a joy to watch. Whatever sport he is playing, he puts 120 percent into it.”
A member of state champion teams in baseball and soccer, Tardif brings some impressive credentials to the plate for the Red Dragons in the fall of 2016. He was named the state’s Class B high school player of the year after batting .374, scoring 32 runs, with two home runs, 28 runs batted in and 32 stolen bases as a leadoff batter for the 27-1 Tuckers. And that doesn’t include an impressive pitching record as well.
“He’s a guy who certainly deserves it,” DeCaro said of the player of the year award. “There was no better center fielder than Joe Tardif. Try to find somebody to say something bad about him, he probably couldn’t because he’s such a great kid. From a great family, too.”
Tardif also was The Suffolk Times’ male athlete of the year for Mattituck.
“Realistically, he has a chance to be an all-county player in three sports this year,” DeCaro said. “It’s almost guaranteed to be in baseball, knock on wood. How many three-sport all-county players do you see these days? Everybody’s a specialist, it seems. At Mattituck we’ve got guys playing multiple sports. That’s how it should be.”
At the soccer team’s first practice Monday, Tardif was named one of the team’s three captains along with John Batuello and Dan Fedun. He also was a basketball team captain, averaging 9.6 points a game as a junior guard.
Hayes cited what Tardif has accomplished on two state championship teams and his individual accomplishments.
“He commands respect from everybody. His work ethic is incredible,” Hayes said. “He’s a great player to look up to.”
Tardif said he was honored.
“I know experience is going to be a very big role because that’s why John, me and Danny are the captains,” he said. “We have the most experience. Obviously, the younger kids don’t have any. That’s going to be big for us three. So we’ll try to rub off on them.”
Photo Caption: Joe Tardif drove in four runs for Mattituck in a win over Babylon earlier this year. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder, file)