When I go to a baseball game, whether it is a professional game or high school game or District All Star game, I like to get a gameday program (if one is available.) As a fan, I am a stat guy and want to learn as much as I can about the players on the field. Every summer, when I go to see the Newport Gulls or the Ocean State Waves, I always get a game day program to read up on who is playing for the team, see where they are from, where they play their college ball, and check out all the local sponsors who support the team. Recently, I picked up an Ocean State Waves Gameday Program and saw the names of several Rhode Island natives – Daniel Baruch, Alex Ramirez, Shaun Gamelin, and Pat Petteruti. Listed next to their names are their Class in College, height, weight, position on the field, whether they throw left or bat right, their hometown and the college/university they attend. One particular player caught my eye and I wanted to find out more about him – Pat Petteruti.
I stopped at Pat Petteruti for a second to read his stats – Senior, throws and bats left handed, from East Greenwich and Brown University. I remember reading in 2020 that Brown University baseball had started their season but (like every scholastic and collegiate sport) was cancelled due to Covid-19. I also remember reading that the entire 2021 Brown University baseball season was cancelled for similar reasons (Covid-19). I went back to the read up on other players from Rhode Island playing for the Waves. Baruch played at Boston College, Ramirez at URI, and Gamelin at RIC – all played significant roles on their college teams and all of these players played a decent amount of games. Maybe not as many as in 2019 or years passed, but Baruch, Ramirez, and Gamelin all played a lot of college baseball in 2021. Not the case for Petteruti and I was curious as to how he handled this very unique situation – mentally and physically. Pat and I recently connected via email and here is an excerpt from our conversation.
1. Tell me a little bit about your Rhode Island baseball roots – Little League? AAU? I played Little League, Junior, and Senior League in East Greenwich, then High School baseball at Moses Brown, where I was a captain senior year. I also played with Providence Sports and Leadership (PSL) during my high school summers.
2. What was that experience like?
I enjoyed playing baseball from the very beginning, and had always been a huge fan of David Ortiz. I didn’t really start focusing on pitching until high school. My experience at PSL was especially rewarding because it instilled mental and physical toughness in me, which has definitely carried over into college. The guys I played with at PSL pushed me to become better and always were extremely supportive. I don’t think I would have pursued college baseball if not for PSL. While at Brown, I mentored younger PSL players as a Brown Global Sports Fellow with the goal of helping them improve their academic success along with some coaching.
3. If you would like to, name some of your baseball and life mentors who helped you along the way.
My parents have been incredibly supportive of me, both in terms of baseball and all of my endeavors. Some of my Little League coaches were great and really instilled the love of the game. Bill Flaherty, who started the PSL program, offered me helpful guidance and helped me set some personal goals along the way.
4. Did you have a favorite ballpark to play in Rhode Island? Or on one of your travel team tournaments?
The Brown baseball field is nice – it’s a turf field which is important since so much of the play is in the early spring and in bad weather. Some of our spring travel trips were to Louisville and Dallas Baptist, to name a few, and it was fun to play in the larger stadiums.
5. How did you settle on being a pitcher? Was that your position throughout youth baseball or something you worked towards later on?
I settled into pitching by the time I was in high school. I started learning about different ways to develop and that ultimately got me hooked on it.
6. What’s your arsenal? Fastball, curveball, slider, changeup, split? I throw a curveball, split change, and a 2 seam and 4 seam fastball.
7. Best game you ever pitched in or played in at any level – what was the score, who did you face, what were your stats, what was the feeling like?
My most memorable game was definitely my first college inning at Florida A and M. For me, it represented a long road of hard work to get that opportunity. As far as stats, one of my favorite HS games was winning the last playoff game my junior year. One of my most memorable college games was when I pitched against Louisville. The opposing pitcher was the 10th overall pick in the 2020 MLB draft, and I faced the 1st overall selection in the 2021 draft.
8. You attended and graduated from Brown University. The past two seasons have been either cut short or cancelled due to Ivy League restrictions on athletics due to the Covid-19 pandemic. How did you and your teammates handle the news of the cancelled seasons?
The cancellations were very difficult, especially this year which was my senior year. My class and I were very close and definitely were looking forward to finishing our Brown careers on a positive note.
9. What physical and mental training have you been doing the past two seasons to stay sharp as a baseball player, especially a pitcher.
After this year’s season was cancelled, I went to Cressey Sports Performance in Florida, which is a training facility primarily for pitchers. This spring, I was recruited by Virginia Tech to play as a grad student, so I’ll go there to pursue a master’s in business analytics and play another year of college baseball. I’m thrilled to continue my education at Virginia Tech, and at the same time have an opportunity to play in the ACC, which is considered to be one of the best Division 1 baseball conferences in the country.
10. As a pitcher, do you feel like you can improve your game by just throwing bullpen sessions or do you need to face hitters to really get to that next level of performance?
I think it’s very important to throw bullpens for pitch development and mechanical improvements, but facing hitters is what the sport is about and should always be the primary focus.
11. What advice would you give a youth baseball player who aspires to be a D1 pitcher like yourself?
I think the most important thing for younger players is to just have fun playing. Don’t be too hard on yourself and enjoy the moments you get with your teammates. Baseball is a game of failure and can really get you down if you let it. Play as many sports as you can, since being athletic is the most important thing.
12. What drives your game on the mound? Is it mental toughness? Physical fitness? Competitive spirit? Why do you feel you are the man to beat every time your coach hands you the ball?
I am a very competitive person and have always been that way in pretty much every aspect of my life. Doing the preparation I’ve done physically allows me to be confident mentally. I really just try to throw every pitch with 100% intent and let whatever happens happen.
13. What is the summer baseball league you are playing in and for what team? I’m playing for the Ocean State Waves of the New England Baseball League (NECBL) this summer, and the summer before Covid-19, I played for the Sanford Mainers, also in the NECBL.
14. Do players register for summer leagues like the New England Collegiate Baseball League or are they recruited? Can you tell me a little bit about the process of how you were selected?
Most players are placed through their college coach.
15. How are the games attended in terms of fans? And I’m sure there are MLB scouts floating around?
The Waves games always draw a good size crowd, and it is great for the community and a fun way for local people to spend an evening.
16. What is your average game day/night like? What time do you arrive at the ballpark, especially if you are the starting pitcher? What does your routine look like to prepare for first pitch?
We usually get to the ballpark early and spend time together as a team, just loosening up. I use bands and weighted balls to prepare for the first pitch. Relief pitchers have the additional challenge of staying warmed up for extended periods of time, since we don’t always know when we’re going into the game.
17. Where can fans find you and your team to follow you this summer? instagram.com/patrickpetteruti
Pat, thanks for agreeing to do this and continued success not only this summer but as you continue your academic and athletic journey at Virginia Tech University.
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The RIBBE is The Rhode Island Baseball Experience. It is promoting the game of baseball here in the great state of Rhode Island for the entire baseball world to see. The RIBBE is positive stories, photos, videos, and responsible social media posts. The RIBBE is an information resource for families looking for an AAU team or a summer camp or a great place to buy a first baseman’s mitt. The RIBBE is a network of coaches, tournament directors, parents, leagues, and baseball junkies whose passion of the game of baseball is unquestioned. I believe that providing expert analysis, information and directions to ballfields, and coaching advice from some of the top RI baseball minds will help promote the game of baseball here in RI to a whole new level.