Written by Abby Pessirilo Levittown@AntonNews.com Thursday, 11 July 2013 00:00
Hofstra University junior, Bryan Verbitsky, was recently selected as a pitcher by the San Diego Padres in the third round of the 2013 MLB Draft.
According to Verbitsky, his recent success is due in large part to his upbringing. “I had a pretty strict household growing up,” said Verbitsky in a phone interview with the Levittown Tribune. “My dad — now he’s a retired New York City detective — but when I was growing up he was still on the job and he and my mom had good morals and values and really instilled a sense of hard work and determination in me.”
Verbitsky’s father, Troy, hopes to have imparted in his son a love for the game, and to have made it an enjoyable experience for him throughout his childhood.
“I was always there in the background for him, when he was young taking him to practice and making it fun. Baseball is a very difficult sport to play if you have a bad today you have to come back tomorrow and shake it off. I always told him no matter what it is, have fun,” said Troy Verbitsky.
Verbitsky’s coaches and administrators at Island Trees High School recognize his appreciation for those who have helped him along his path to professional baseball.
“I saw him and his parents at a gathering for him a couple of weeks ago right before he left and you could see the excitement on his face and how thankful he is to everyone that has ever thrown a ball to him or has just been in his life,” said Island Trees High School Principal Nicholas Grande.
According to Verbitsky’s high school varsity baseball coach, Joseph D’Auria, his talent was discernible early on. Verbitsky was made a starter on the varsity team during his freshman year of high school.
“You could tell he was talented and was going to be a good high school player,” said D’Auria. “I always thought there would be a possibility [that he would be drafted] when he got to college and if he kept going on the path he was.”
Verbitsky’s teammates also understood his potential to make playing baseball a career.
“Bryan outworked everybody else. I would drive by his house and see him outside just taking swings,” said former high school teammate and assistant high school varsity baseball coach Dan Fazio. “When your best players are your hardest workers it sends a message to the rest of the team and he was always there to pick someone up; he had a quiet confidence.”
Verbitsky has continued to remain humble throughout his childhood of playing baseball
and through the recent draft, Fazio said.
“He deserves all of the recognition. He’s probably not liking all of the attention because that’s the kind of kid he is, but he’s a very team-oriented guy, he’s not about individual accomplishments, but it’s a great thing for him and he should soak it in,” said Fazio.
When asked what his immediate feelings were when he found out
he was picked in the draft, Verbitsky found it difficult to express what his exact emotions were at the time.
“Once you see your name up on the board it’s a surreal feeling. Every emotion you can think of comes out of you. It was anxiety, excitement, happiness; all of he stress you have coming up to that gets released and you get to start your journey, you get to start your dream,” said Verbitsky.
Verbitsky’s coaches were not surprised when they first heard he was being drafted, as they always knew what potential Verbitsky had as a high school player.
“I was extremely proud when I found out. Just to have a player to see grow up, do great things, and knowing he’s a professional. To know that we coached him, there is a sense of pride,” said D’Auria.
Verbitsky’s father expressed a similar sentiment when discussing the draft, but knows that the journey is not yet over for his son, and that his baseball career has, and will be, a gradual process.
“It’s very hard to expect, it’s just one step at a time. When he was in little lague we would always hope he would make the high school team, and then we would hope he would get to the next level in college,” said Verbitsky’s father. “It’s something you can never expect, you just hope. I always told him just keep living the dream, that’s it.”
Verbitsky is currently a starting pitcher for the Eugene Emeralds, a minor league team of the San Diego Padres, in Oregon.
“I just want to do everything I possibly can to help the team out here in Eugene win and get better everyday. There’s a lot of great coaches, a lot of great teammates out here,” said Verbitsky. “It’s
been a lot of fun out here so far and I’m just trying to get better everyday.”
Although Verbitsky is far from his home on Long Island, his supporters know that he will always remember where he first started.
“Bryan’s proud to have come from here. He will always mention Island Trees in every place that he goes. I’m just so happy for him because he’s such a great guy,” said Grande. “This couldn’t have happened to a better kid. I think everybody says that when these things happen, but this is the truth.”