Brockton's Tempesta A Consistent Offensive Weapon For UMass Baseball Team
April 23, 2009
Adam Tempesta can clearly recall the first game of his University of Massachusetts baseball career on March 10, 2006.
The Brockton resident was in the starting lineup as a freshman second baseman for the Minutemen in the season opener against the University of South Florida.
"It was definitely a big adjustment,'' he said of going from Brockton High School to Div. 1 baseball. "I remember my first game, I was so nervous and I didn't get a hit.''
Tempesta went 0-for-4 in that collegiate debut, but once he broke through with a single the next day against USF, the nervousness disappeared and the hits just kept on coming.
Now a senior, Tempesta is second in career hits at the Amherst school with 206 and has been above .300 in all four seasons at UMass. He has had at least one hit in 121 of the 161 games he's played for the Minutemen.
With 21 games remaining in his career, Tempesta will likely finish second behind Muchie Dagliere (257 hits) on the school's all-time list, and he is just six doubles away from the school record of 50, held by Justin Howard.
"I probably wouldn't have expected this,'' said Tempesta, who should set UMass records for games played and at-bats. "I think I proved some people wrong. It's a pretty good honor (to get 200 hits). The other two guys (Dagliere and Bill Knight) who did it are pretty good players. I'm glad I could leave my mark here.''
Tempesta, who looked at Bryant University and Vermont before settling on UMass, has been a reliable contributor for the Minutemen, hitting .318 as a freshman and junior, .306 as a sophomore and .342 this season (39-for-114).
"He's done a great job,'' said UMass coach Mike Stone.
"He works so hard. He's got a lot of talent, he's got a good swing and he has good hands. He's always been a good hitter.''
Tempesta started all 44 games as a freshman, earning a spot on the Atlantic 10 Conference all-rookie team when he had 55 hits, including 16 doubles, and drove in 22 runs.
An upperclassmen was suspended for the opening five games of the season, and Tempesta moved into his spot in the lineup and never departed.
"I obviously wanted to get in there and win a spot and play, but I thought I might be getting playing time here and there as a freshman'' said Tempesta, who was recruited as a shortstop but made the move right away to second base.
"I was just trying to learn the ropes to play baseball at the college level. I struggled a little bit at first, but I ended up getting the hang of it.''
Tempesta suffered a broken left hand during an indoor preseason practice session in his sophomore year.
He was covering first base on a bunt drill, and while trying to grab a wide throw, broke the hand in a collision with a runner.
The injury forced Tempesta to miss only the season opener, and he had 57 hits, including six doubles, while driving in 22 runs.
"It was kind of tough to get going,'' said Tempesta, whose older brothers, Nick (a Div. 3 All-America at Eastern Connecticut State) and Bryon (Bridgewater State) also played college baseball.
"I still got some hits here and there, but I think I could have done better if maybe I didn't break my hand.
"I ended up missing the first game and that was it. I was able to play through it. Once I got used to the way the tape felt, I was able to just get through it.''
Tempesta, a career .317 hitter, played his junior season with a double-sided sports hernia that required surgery last July after he had 55 hits, including 13 doubles and two homers, and drove in a team-leading 45 runs.
He gave no consideration to sitting out even a portion of last season and dealt with the ailment while playing.
"I wouldn't let that happen,'' said Tempesta of not playing.
"The doctor told me I could play through it and just tough it out and get to the surgery after.
"I just had to sit out last fall and some of the winter before this season.''
Said Stone: "He's been through some tough injuries. Playing with a sports hernia, that's tough to do. We've got guys perfectly healthy and he was outhustling them. He runs every ball out, plays every game at 100 percent, full speed.''
Tempesta, who hopes to play at the professional level, returned to Brockton last week when UMass defeated Boston College in the semifinal round of the Beanpot Tournament at Campanelli Stadium.
"That was probably my top memory of being here at UMass for four years, besides winning the Beanpot (in 2008),'' said Tempesta.
"It was awesome to come back and see my friends and family and get a big win. It brought back a lot of memories, especially just getting on the field and looking up at the concourse and seeing that `Boxer Tough' painted on the wall. It was pretty exciting.''