New Canaan's Farina set for challenges of college ball at Lafayette
The adjustment from high school to college -- athletic or otherwise -- isn't always the easiest of transitions, but Alex Farina sounds like he's taking it all in stride.
After a baseball season in which the senior captain anchored the New Canaan pitching staff and often batted cleanup, Farina sounds like he's already looking forward to the new challenges which await at Lafayette.
"I felt that Lafayette was the best academic school and baseball school that I could get into," Farina said. "They have a really good mechanical engineering program, which I'm interested in, and it's Division-I baseball."
That isn't to say he won't miss his time as a New Canaan Ram. After three consecutive losing seasons, Farina was a vital piece of a vastly improved New Canaan baseball squad which completed the regular season with a record of 13-7, good for the No. 5 seed in the FCIAC tournament and the No. 13 seed in the Class L State tournament.
Although the Rams were ousted by No. 4 Staples in the opening round of the FCIAC playoffs, they proved to be a far tougher out in the State tournament.
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New Canaan picked up a 9-5 first round win over No. 20 Wilby, squeaked out a 1-0 win over No. 4 Branford and blanked No. 21 RHAM 4-0 to reach the semifinals. Unfortunately, Farina and the Rams fell just two wins shy of completing a dream season, as they were defeated by No. 16 Farmington, 2-1.
Despite the tough loss, Farina indicated that it was still a fun experience to make it that deep into the State tournament, as well as helping to turn around the New Canaan baseball program.
"It meant a lot that we went so far in the final year at New Canaan High School. We hadn't done that in 20 or 30 years, so it was special to be part of that in my final season," Farina said. "It was a great experience. We had a lot of fun, and the team pulled together really nicely. It was just a few at bats that kept us from going to finals."
For his efforts in his final season as a high school athlete, Farina was presented with the BlueStreak-Overtime FCIAC Spring Player of the Year Award, and referred to it as "the cherry on top of a really good season."
According to New Canaan coach Mitch Hoffman, the Rams didn't have a clear cut No. 1 starter prior to the start of the 2011 campaign, but Farina changed that with some impressive showings on the hill in some of the team's scrimmages.
"He earned that spot in our scrimmages, and he took a lot of pride in it. We had no bona fide No. 1, and he earned that by his performance in the preseason," said Hoffman, who also attended Lafayette College.
Whenever Farina wasn't pitching, Hoffman would typically pencil him in as the designated hitter or the right fielder.
In addition to his work on the diamond, Farina also played football for three years at New Canaan High School, serving as a backup quarterback and linebacker. Farina opted against playing football as a senior due to the multiple colleges which were recruiting him for baseball.
Farina also handled shot put duties on New Canaan's indoor track team, which captured a State title for the first time since 1958.
Although Hoffman believes that Farina will likely face an adjustment period when he first takes the college mound, the New Canaan coach also went on to say that Farina is more equipped for success than the average freshman pitcher.
"There's always a growing period because you're going from two or three solid hitters in the lineup to probably eight or nine, so there's nowhere that you can take a bit of a break," Hoffman said. "I think he's ahead of other young pitchers. He really bought into learning how to pitch with me this season."
Farina, whose pitching repertoire includes a four-seam fastball, a changeup, a curveball and a slider, is also expecting a strong challenge from pitching to the potent Division-I lineups.
"It'll be a lot tougher, but you've just got to work harder," Farina said. "I think my mechanics are pretty good, but one of the experiences of college is working hard. I think it will be pretty tough as a freshman, but in end I think it will work out nicely."