STONINGTON — Kevin Ferrer found the perfect stepping stone to his UConn baseball career this summer at the Perfect Game Futures League in upstate New York.
Ferrer, the former Stonington High All-State outfielder, batted .385 (55 for 143) in 41 games for the Adirondack Trail Blazers. He led the summer college wooden-bat league with 20 doubles and was second in the league in batting average.
It was breakout performance for the 5-foot-10, 190-pound left fielder, who redshirted as a Husky freshman this past season.
"As a redshirt, I worked on my craft, working out and taking batting practice all spring," Ferrer said. "It was the coach's decision for me to redshirt and work some on some things, specifically tracking balls in the outfield and my throwing arm, to make me a more productive player in the future. Doing so well in the summer, I couldn't have asked for a better springboard to the upcoming season."
UConn, an NCAA Tournament team last season and considered the top baseball program in the Northeast now, graduated a pair of outfielders from a 36-23 team. Senior captain John Toppa of Portsmouth was entrenched in left field, leaving little playing time opportunities for Ferrer.
Still, not facing game action for the entire spring was a new experience. When UConn's coaches found a spot for him in the Perfect Game league, a circuit suited for college underclassmen and a league that once featured J.D. Martinez and Hunter Pence as players last decade.
"Josh McDonald, a UConn coach, told me I was going to Boonville, N.Y.," Ferrer said. "I had never heard of it."
The Perfect Game league includes teams in Elmira, a franchise which draws 2,000 fans a game, and Cooperstown among 12 squads. Going to boondocks, rather the Oneida County village of Boonville, population 2,072, suited Ferrer just fine.
"I thought it would take a few games for me to adjust to in-game pitching after redshirting," Ferrer said. "But it was like I never took any time off. I batted in the middle of the order and was hot from the start, hitting line drives."
Ferrer, a Class M All-State selection his senior year who batted .427 and helped Stonington win its only ECC Tournament championship as a junior in 2017, displayed the patient hitting approach he showed in high school.
He walked 20 times and sported an on-base average of .470. He represented Adirondack on the league all-star game.
Former UConn center fielder, Troy Stefanski of Wheeler, used a strong summer, all-star campaign in Martha's Vineyard in the Futures League in 2017 as a springboard to an outstanding senior year in 2018.
"This summer has given me a lot of confidence," Ferrer said. "[UConn coach Jim Penders] has talked to me since and encouraged me after the season I had. I'm looking to stay hot in the fall and compete for a spot in the lineup."