Former APA Product Drew Demartino Reflects on First Year at UHart
Drew DeMartino took the road less travelled as he decided to graduate high school early to attend the college. In the spring of 2017, DeMartino committed to play baseball at the University of Hartford. By November of that year, he signed his National Letter of Intent and by December was an alumnus of Taconic High School. In January of this year, he moved into his dorm at Hartford and started his first semester of college where he joined former AP Academy/Western Massachusetts athletes Nathan Florence and Nick Dombkowski.
“I had to take online classes in order to get all of my credits to graduate early,” DeMartino stated, “My grades were good enough in high school, so the NCAA cleared me to be able to graduate and attend Hartford a semester early.”
The decision he made did come with some downsides, of course. He mentioned that going to college early meant he had to miss out on his senior season of basketball and baseball with Taconic.
“After talking with my parents and talking to Pete, I felt ready to make the decision to move on and go to college early” he exclaimed, “I’m very glad I made the decision to forgo my senior year.”
With the help of Peter Fatse, the Founder and Director of Athletic Development at Advanced Performance Academy, DeMartino made it known that he felt prepared to play at the collegiate level.
“Coach Fatse does a great job. He helped me a ton. In high school, I struggled my sophomore year put some hard work in with Pete and the jump I made from sophomore year to junior year was tremendous. Pete truly cares and works with all of his players using his experience to guide us through ups and downs. For me, it was working on specific drills with Pete to help me improve my offensive and defensive abilities. Even at the college level there are many things I don’t know and he knows all about it, so there were times where I would call him to ask if I could come up to AP to hit and he would help me get back on the right track,” DeMartino said.
After DeMartino’s first season at Hartford, it is clear to see that the decision he made was right for him. He played in 30 games, making a start in 24 as the second baseman. He finished the season with a .229 batting average, accumulating 22 hits, 10 runs, two doubles, a homerun, six RBIs, 27 assists, and a .902 fielding percentage. Drew’s first career homerun as a Hartford Hawk came in the America East Tournament that helped tie the game against UMass Lowell. In the same game, he hit a RBI single with the bases-loaded that led to the Hawks advancement into their first-ever America East Championship. He was later named the Most Outstanding Player of the America East Championship. Hartford went on to play in their first NCAA Division I Baseball Regional at Stetson University in Florida, as well.
Commenting on the season, DeMartino relayed, “The season was great. There were obviously some ups and downs, like in the beginning when we weren’t winning as much, but we knew we had a great team. We were losing by just a few runs, but towards the end of the season it really started to click. All the guys started doing very well and it was a blast. Not only were we able to win our first America East Conference Championship ring, but to go to the first Regional in school history, it was a lot of fun and it was a great learning experience with the teams we played, spending time with coaches and even the guys.”
Hana Johnson - Media Intern, Advanced Performance Academy