Tourtellotte baseball team gets its roster in order
By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Thompson - posted Tue., Apr. 3, 2012
Tourtellotte Memorial High School baseball coach Steve DiFormato had his players spread out in the gym for practice on March 28. He had one player in the batting cage hitting soft tosses, others hitting off Ts, and still others doing fielding drills. This is DiFormato's first year as head coach at Tourtellotte, but he was assistant coach last year and knows what his players are capable of.
“I'm very excited about the amount of experience we have,” DiFormato said. “We don't have great numbers, but the numbers of experienced players we have is a luxury. It makes me hopeful.”
Tourtellotte is one of the smallest schools in the ECC Small division. Because of that, Panther players will fill different roles through the season. Devin Marquis, Eddie Kopacz and Joel Jezierski will share pitching duties. Kopacz and Casey Kitka will share catching duties. Kitka will also play first, third, and fill in at pitching and catching. “We have to have that flexibility,” DiFormato said. “We do a little bit of everything because we're small. Everyone has to do a little bit of everything.”
There are seven returning starters from last season. Out of 15 on the roster, 13 saw play time last year. Senior co-captains Joel Jezierski and Eddie Kopacz will lead the team. Jezierski has been an honorable mention on the second team, all-division, ECC Small two years in a row. And Devin Marquis is as talented a player as DiFormato has seen. “If he can keep focused, he'll have a great year,” the coach said.
“We have to stay positive when things aren't going our way,” he added. “We have to be able to lean on each other. It's really a game of failure: the best hitter in baseball batted .400. You have to be able to accept that or you'll never be successful.”
The Panthers will need to win at least eight games in order to make the states. DiFormato is confident about their chances. “I think we can easily make 10,” he said.