By JAKOB RYAN / Staff Writer

 

Barton College’s baseball team does not have your typical starting pitcher throwing Friday nights for them. Gentry Fortuno is a 23-year-old Freshman who has already spent some time playing professional baseball.

Fortuno is a product of a special rule in baseball that allows players to compete collegiately even after professional experience.

Taking a second to think, he answered about what the transition has been like going back to school. “Honestly it is like learning a new language,” said Fortuno.

The 6 foot 2 inch right handed pitcher was selected in the 2015 Major League Baseball Draft in the 18th round by the Milwaukee Brewers out of Charles Flanagan High School in Pembroke Pines, Florida.

As an 18-year-old kid it was a dream come true, worry about one thing and one thing only and that is baseball. However, being away from school for 3 years has been new challenge for him.

“So it’s just easy to focus on just baseball alone,” said Fortuno, “but having to focus on studies and baseball is a huge transition because it is a lot of responsibility.”

However, Fortuno has enjoyed some aspects of the student-athlete life.

“I have not been on a team in a while. Pro ball is more of an individual sport, so playing with a team and having that bond and meeting some good guys is a lot of fun,” said Fortuno.

The idea of individuality instead of team has been something that has been commonly said about being in these farm systems of major league teams.

“You might see one familiar face and then you might not see that familiar face for a couple of years,” said Fortuno, “where is college you build a bunch of relationships and get close with the community.”

Although Fortuno enjoys the game of baseball, he has realized the need for an education and a plan beyond baseball.

“Education is huge,” said Fortuno. “Having just that back up plan is huge because baseball is just a game and it does not last forever.”

Still with the hopes of signing another professional contract, Fortuno is looking forward to earning his bachelor’s degree and possibly playing baseball either here in the states or internationally.