New Jersey Super-17 Program
Amidst a host of talented ball players on the New Jersey Super-17 Central Jersey roster, Frank Florio emerged as the Home Run leader for the program’s inaugural 2005 season. He hit six home runs during the abbreviated summer season, and punctuated that performance by winning the Home Run Derby hosted by Jack Cust Baseball Academy at season’s end.
Frank pinpoints his new appreciation for the “mental aspect of the game” as the most important skill that he developed as a result of his participation in the Super-17 program. He attributes the “different mindset” that he now takes to the plate as a hitter to the “great coaches” that he had in Keith Dilgard and Ben Fonseca. With their instruction he has learned to avoid “taking too many fast balls early in the count” as well as to handle the “outside strike (better)…driving it the other way” for base hits.
He explains that Coach Dilgard would always ask him following an at-bat to “point something out that he did well” during that at-bat. In turn, Coach Fonseca frequently asked him after completion of a game, “What did (he) learn from the game?” This kind of mentoring, Frank says, has helped him to “think positive (and) have confidence” every time he steps to the plate.
Frank’s future interests lie in furthering his education and playing in a competitive college program. Although he’s “not really looking” as yet, he would like to consider going to Notre Dame or Princeton after he graduates from high school. With his 3.8 Grade Point Average and membership in the National Honor Society, as a junior at Immaculata, he stands a good chance of realizing his long-term goals.
For the present, he will content himself to continue to do well in his studies and in his high school baseball program for 2006. He looks forward to next year’s Super-17 competition and the “higher level of play and better pitching…consistently each game during the week” that the program provides to aspiring, young ball players such as he.
If what a wise person once said is indeed true – i.e., that you become the best by competing against the best – the future seems only brighter for Frank and his Super-17 teammates.