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Garrett Perusse: Senior catcher having a break out offensive year for Raiders baseball.

POSTED May 16, 2011
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

Torrington's Garrett Perusse has been tearing things up at the plate this season for the 15-3 Raiders. After being more known for his glove, Perusse hit the weight room and has made himself one of the most feared hitters in the NVL this season. (Photo courtesy of Jen Royals)

TORRINGTON: Coming into the 2011 spring season, Garrett Perusse expected to be the everyday catcher after sharing the duties during his junior year.

Known as a good defensive receiver, Perusse has surprised almost everyone, including himself, with how well he has stroked the ball for manager Gerry Carbone and the 15-3 Raiders.

“He has just been a different hitter this year,” Carbone said, “We expected him to handle the pitching staff with any offense he gave us being a bonus.”

Well, the bonus has come out with a large sum of offense on it, here in the spring of 2011.

Perusse leads the Naugatuck Valley League with four homeruns, including two that may just go down in THS lore.

In a 9-4 win over rival Holy Cross on May 9 at Fuessenich Park, Perusse stepped to the plate in the bottom of the first with his team already up 2-0 and a runner on.

“Garrett hit a bomb that hit the second floor porch on one of the houses outside the park,” Carbone said, “I had never seen anyone hit one that far.”

He was far from done though. After the Crusaders had chipped away at the Raiders lead and trailed by just one at 5-4, Perusse got another chance in the bottom of the fifth with two men on.

It was again time to unload and this time, in a key spot in the game, the senior leader let another one fly, this one was headed for the scoreboard in right center at the 358 foot mark.

“When I hit it,” Perusse said, “I knew it was gone. I though it was going to hit the scoreboard but it went just to the right of it.”

A close 5-4 game was stretched to 8-4 and this one was in the books.

It’s been that kind of season for the Raiders and Perusse. This years team can hit a ton and pitch a bunch to boot.

Perusse sports a .420 batting average to go along with those four dingers. Throw in a team leading 23 RBI’s, 21 runs scored, four double, a triple and a partridge if we could find one, and it has turned into on amazing season for a player who has been playing baseball since he was five-years old.

He took the normal route; T-Ball, Little League (multiple levels of minors, then majors), Babe Ruth, Koufax, Mantle, high school and American Legion.

His career behind the plate started when he was in second grade, at the suggestion of his father, Joe.

He has been behind the plate ever since.

How does a player who was known for his glove and was okay with the stick, get to this point?

Hard work and lots of time in the weight room this past winter.

“I joined a gym and started to really work the weights this year,” Perusse said, “I lost 10 pounds and have stayed focused on being strong.”

A turning point for the Raiders and Perruse came in their last scrimmage before the season started when they traveled to New York City to take on one of the best teams in NYC, George Washington High School.

GW is now home to former THS standout, Nick Carbone, son of Gerry and the interim head coach at the powerhouse school.

Gerry Carbone thought it would be a good idea to take his kids to the city and play his son’s team, but there were risks in playing a top ranked school and Perusse knew it.

“We didn’t want to get beat badly,” Perusse said, “We wanted to do Torrington proud.”

While the Raiders dropped a 7-3 decision to GW, it was a tight game going into the sixth inning.

“The game was tied at 3 after five,” Perusse said, “We were staying with them at their park. They were playing in their 13th game of the season and were playing hard to win while we had not even started our regular season.”

The trip was a major confidence booster for the Raiders and they roared out to an 11-0 record as April ended.

Confidence makes for great fuel for an athletes engine and even though Torrington has gone 4-3 since (including a 14-3 drubbing at the hands of Kennedy on Monday afternoon), this senior laden group has already evened some scores from years past in the spring of 2011.

“A year ago, Derby came up here and destroyed us (28-4),” Perusse said, “We went down there this year and beat them by a 3-2 score.”

This time around it was a nail-biter that ended after Derby had scored a run in the bottom of the ninth to pull within one at 3-2.

“They had the bases loaded and their number three hitter coming up,” Perusse said, “We got him to ground out and got away with a great revenge win.”
Two wins over Holy Cross, always a tough team to face, have also been sweet for the Raiders.

Perruse credits his dad and Uncle (Chris) for helping him hone his skills.

“My dad has always been there for me,” Perusse said, “My uncle is also a lefty so he helps me a lot at the plate. He usually knows what I am doing wrong just by watching a couple of at-bats.”

His strong support system is bolstered by another high profile, stellar THS athlete, Sarah Royals.

Dating a three-sport standout can be intimidating to some but Perusse and Royals have a healthy competitive edge to them.

“We are always trying to out-do the other,” Perruse said, “We’re very competitive.”

After graduation, Perusse plans on attending the university of Pittsburgh to study Pre-Law, high expectations are nothing new for this Raider.

With time running down on his final season in high school, Perusse still has goals he hopes to see his team achieve.

“We want to win the NVL Tournament and do some damage in the States,” Perusse said, “We won a home game last year at States and want to go even farther this year.”

Understanding what is in front of him has always made Perusse a good catcher; that same vision will no doubt make this Raiders a success in whatever he puts his mind to.

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