Northeast Times

Ryan’s Ferdinand finds his swing at Delaware

Carry a big stick: Nick Ferdin­and, a gradu­ate of Arch­bish­op Ry­an, is bat­ting al­most .400 for the Uni­versity of Delaware.

Start­Frag­ment

At the time, Nick Ferdin­and could not see any­thing pos­it­ive from the leg sprain he suffered in the au­tumn of his fresh­man year at Blooms­burg Uni­versity. The strain in his leg, though, helped re­move a lot of strain about the fu­ture for the former Arch­bish­op Ry­an two-sport ath­lete from Ben­s­alem.

“When I was com­ing out of Ry­an, I really wasn’t sure of what I wanted to do, foot­ball or base­ball,” Ferdin­and said. “Blooms­burg gave me the op­por­tun­ity to do both. My first couple of months there, I ended up get­ting hurt and that gave me the op­por­tun­ity to think about it and I de­cided I wanted to con­cen­trate on base­ball.”

With foot­ball out of the pic­ture, Ferdin­and fin­ished a strong fresh­man year play­ing base­ball at Blooms­burg, then looked to trans­fer to a high­er level.

He has now found a home at the Uni­versity of Delaware, where has pos­ted bat­ting av­er­ages of .312 and .313 in his sopho­more and ju­ni­or sea­sons and is now hit­ting .384 in a sea­son high­lighted by a nine-game hit­ting streak.

“He’s get­ting some looks by the (ma­jor league) scouts,” said Uni­versity of Delaware head coach Jim Sher­man. “I think he can play on the next level if he puts his mind to it and con­tin­ues to work. He’s a hard-work­ing, de­tail-ori­ented type kid.”

Ferdin­and, a first team All-Cath­ol­ic se­lec­tion in both base­ball and foot­ball at Arch­bish­op Ry­an, is now bat­ting in the cleanup spot for the Blue Hens. With al­most half of the sea­son still re­main­ing, he’s already matched his home run totals for last year and raised his bat­ting av­er­age sig­ni­fic­antly. Ferdin­and is cur­rently second on the Blue Hens in hits (38) and RBI (29), and is tied for second with four home runs.

Wheth­er he’s draf­ted or not, there’s no dis­put­ing his num­bers.

And that’s good enough for now.

“That’s something out of my con­trol. You nev­er know if you are go­ing to be draf­ted or where you are go­ing to be draf­ted, but all you can ask for is a shot and that’s what I want,” Ferdin­and said. “I fig­ure I can con­trol the things I can con­trol, like my per­form­ance, and all of the oth­er things will fall in­to place.”

While com­pet­ing for the Raid­ers, Ferdin­and was used to win­ning in base­ball and that’s con­tin­ued at Delaware, par­tic­u­larly this year. Des­pite some dread­ful weath­er, Delaware was 14-8 and 3-3 in the Co­lo­ni­al Ath­let­ic Con­fer­ence.

“It is what it is,” Sher­man said. “We’re for­tu­nate enough to be in a base­ball league where a lot of the schools, like James Madis­on and the rest, are south of us so it’s not quite as bad as some of the weath­er we’ve had for our home games.”

Ferdin­and also has played in the sum­mer the past two sea­sons in the Coastal Plains League for the Mar­tins­ville (Va.) team, a league for col­lege all-stars.

“I didn’t do as well as I wanted to do there, but it was a great ex­per­i­ence in that it pre­pares you for the next level,” Ferdin­and said. “It’s a grind, 54 games in 60 days, but it’s a good grind be­cause you are do­ing something that you love. Plus, there are al­ways scouts down there and they make sure that they fol­low you at the col­lege level.

“For­tu­nately, I’ve had a de­cent couple of years here.”

More than de­cent, ac­cord­ing to Sher­man.

“He can hit for av­er­age and hit with power and he can run,” he said. “Plus, he can field his po­s­i­tion. A lot of times you have guys do one or two of those things, but not all of them well.”

At Arch­bish­op Ry­an, Ferdin­and worked as a stel­lar shortstop, but at Delaware he plays right field.

“I love it,” he said. “Out­field was al­ways my best po­s­i­tion. As a foot­ball play­er, I was a wide re­ceiv­er so play­ing right field gives me a chance to use some of the same in­stincts in go­ing out there and catch­ing the ball. Plus, I have a pretty strong arm and that helps out there, too.”

If be­ing on the field doesn’t work out, Ferdin­and can put his ex­per­i­ence of work­ing in the stands to good use. When he’s not in base­ball sea­son, he works on the events staff at the Bob Car­penter Cen­ter, the home to Delaware men’s and wo­men’s bas­ket­ball.

“It gives me an op­por­tun­ity to sup­port the men’s and wo­men’s bas­ket­ball teams,” Ferdin­and said. “Be­cause of base­ball sea­son, I end up work­ing there from Septem­ber to Janu­ary.

“My job con­sists mainly of ush­er­ing — lead­ing people to their seats — and do­ing things like break­ing down tables and set­ting things up so that everything is ready for the event.”

The ex­per­i­ence has giv­en Ferdin­and — a his­tory ma­jor with a minor in en­tre­pren­eur­i­al stud­ies — a peek in­to the busi­ness world.

“It’s got me think­ing about maybe get­ting in a sales po­s­i­tion or start­ing my own busi­ness or maybe sports mar­ket­ing,” he said. “First, though, I’m go­ing to play as hard as I can for an op­por­tun­ity to play as long as I can.” ••

You can reach at mgibson@bsmphilly.com.

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