By PETE FONTAINE
Even though they are only in grades six through eight, the 18 boys who are representing Nicholas A. Ferri Middle School in baseball this spring are steeped with plenty of history on the beloved baseball diamond.
Take two of the Jaguars captains – namely pitcher Anthony Vendetti and catcher Derek LaFazia - who have been teammates since their days dating back to when they played in the tee-Ball Division of the now 55-year-old Johnston Little League.
Likewise, there’s a special bond – as well as classic camaraderie – on the Jags enthusiastic coaching staff.
That’s because head coach Michael IaFrate, whose family name has been synonymous with Johnston athletics through the years, and assistant coaches Anthony Scamaglia and Derek LaFazia have also been part of the town’s sports through the years.
Despite having an early season record of one win and three losses, the Jaguars have made man impressions on opposing coaches and players in the early going of their 2022 schedule.
“There’s plenty of spirit and enthusiasm on that (middle school) team this spring,” a rival coach offered after his team posted a recent victory over the Ferri force. “Then again, that’s no surprise because it seems like all teams from Johnston are always up for the challenge at hand.”
Meanwhile, several opposing players – whose team was also triumphant vs. Ferri – remarked: “When you play a team from Johnston you’d better be ready to play your best; that town always has plenty of (youth baseball) talent even at the middle school baseball level.”
So, the Jaguars will be seeking their second seasonal victory today at 5 o’clock when they take the field at Wood Lake Park, which is located off Reservoir Road in Johnston.
“We’re ready!” exclaimed a Jaguar player earlier this week. “Our entire team will be up for another test.”
And that includes Jacob Petite and Nick Testa, who are part of the Jags quad captain’s corps along with Derek La Fazia and Vendetti.
The entire Jaguars roster includes: Nick Testa, Derek LaFazia, Jacob Petite, Ronnie Vento, Anthony Vendetti, Yadier Grullon, Dionis Calcagno, Javon Adamo, Alex Amaral, Ethan Bracey, Jacob Rankin, Ryan Waterman, Christian Ferranti, Aiden Neil, Luca Schroer, Luca Ricci, Jesse Geyer and Giovanni Celani.
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