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The heartland to the dirty south

Written by Alex Tostado


Nick Fogarty has faced many challenges in his journey from Thornhill, Ontario in Canada, to Texarkana, Tex., to Valdosta, Ga.

The Valdosta State senior pitcher didn’t have many experiences in America growing up.

“For the longest time, until around eighth grade, ninth grade, I didn’t even come to America,” Fogarty said. “I would go just across the border to go to like Six Flags, but I never really knew what it was like.”

Fogarty’s parents separated when he was just three-years-old therefore he split time between staying with his grandparents, mother and father growing up.

“My dad lived in a town 30 minutes away and worked in that town,” Fogarty said. “It was kind of a weird situation; I would go to school, and I would go back to my grandparents’ house and my dad would come pick me up. If I had to go to my mom’s, she would come pick me up.”

Baseball has been a part of Fogarty’s life since he was five and soon had to deal with the restrictions the game can bring.

“In seventh and eighth grade it started getting pretty real,” Fogarty said. “That’s when it got everyday practice, traveling, missing Spring Breaks and not being able to hang out with your buddies on the weekends and the whole nine yards. That’s when it became a grind for me because I wanted to be a regular kid, too. When you’re 15, 16 years old, you can’t look any further than the front of your nose.”

Fogarty is a former draft pick of the Milwaukee Brewers. He was drafted in the 40th round of the 2008 MLB draft out of Thornlea SS, but unfortunately had Tommy John surgery shortly thereafter.

“That was a crazy, crazy experience,” Fogarty said. “I never thought I would have an injury like that. When I went into the doctor, she basically said I either get the surgery, or don’t play.”

Fogarty sat down with his parents and they convinced him to go through with the procedure.

Fogarty hurt his elbow the day after he got drafted in a throwing session and had the surgery in September of 2008. He came back in the next spring and admittedly got knocked around.

“That was a rough patch because I could not figure out what was going on and then once I figured it out, I realized that the whole draft thing was pretty much down the drain,” Fogarty said.

Fogarty did not play in the minor leagues, but in 2006-07, at 16-years-old had the special opportunity to represent his country.

“The feeling that we got when we were able to put on a jersey that said our country and we got to go down and sign autographs for these kids in Mexico, and go to the Dominican and see all of these kids that had nothing and you are the dude that has all of these cool shoes because your country gives it to you and you get to play in front of all these people, it was pretty humbling to say the least,” Fogarty said.

The lefty has steadily been in America since the fall of 2009 when he began playing at Texarkana College.

In the summer of 2011, Fogarty was contacted by Valdosta State baseball associate coach Todd Guilliams who previously saw Fogarty throw in 2007 and invited him to campus to visit and potentially attend VSU.

“This is a pristine school to say the least,” Fogarty said. “They gave me a good scholarship offer and I signed.”

Fogarty continues to be humble despite his impressive achievements such as his perfect game two months ago.

“I have never been a bragging or boasting type,” Fogarty said. “That’s why it was so weird when I threw that perfect game. Everybody was like, ‘Oh my God, you threw a perfect game, that’s crazy.’ For me, it wasn’t that I threw it; it was that nobody has done it in so long. You don’t really realize you have thrown it until you have thrown it.”

Fogarty grew up in a town where it was close to “seventy percent Jewish” so he was not used to The Bible Belt norms of people going to church often.

When he came down to Valdosta, his first roommate, former Blazer baseball player Chaz Bagwell, was “faithful” and “strong to God” inspiring Fogarty to become part of the church.

“He is a great guy so he influenced me a lot spiritually,” Fogarty said. “I still have my beliefs but I found a way to use it to my personality.”

Fogarty is a firm believer of living life without any regrets.

“The last thing you want to do is look back when you are 30 years old and think, ‘If I would have just done that one class, or if I had just gone to that one tryout, who knows where I would be right now.” Fogarty said. “You might as well do what you think is right and at the end of the day you can say, ‘At least I did it.’

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