Local pitcher Joe Guzzo did not mind pursuing his baseball career south of the border; just not a whole lot south of the border, as it turns out.
After spending the 2020-2021 season with the Genesee Community College Cougars in Batavia (N.Y.), about halfway between Buffalo and Rochester, the 20 year-old St Charles College grad made the move to Michigan this fall.
Signing on with the Jackson Community College Jets for the 2021-2022 campaign, Guzzo now finds himself about 90 minutes due west of Detroit. Truthfully, however, the final destination might not be quite as important as the opportunity itself to the young man who has worked through some adversity to get to this point.
"I took a year off with shoulder surgery after high-school," said Guzzo. "I was looking for a place to go at the time, talking to a bunch of schools. I sent out a ton of video to coaches, keeping on top of reaching out to coaches, just to make sure your name is out there."
Looking to springboard from Genesee last year, Guzzo accounted himself well enough to offer reason for hope. "I liked my consistency," he said. "Whenever I was on the mound, when they needed me, I was the guy to do what they needed me to do."
"I had a good enough season and J-G (Jean-Gilles Larocque) put a good word out and I was able to end up at Jackson."
Mind you, one look at a late March (2021) outing versus Jamestown Community College might well have been enough to convince the Jets. Guzzo picked up the win, going six innings, limiting the Jayhawks to just three hits and striking out 14 batters.
"I'm not going to overpower guys with my fastball," Guzzo conceded. "I'm really just looking to hit my spots, get ahead in the count and throw a lot of curveballs. When I got to college, having command with my changeup helped a lot."
"It's a pitch that looks like a fastball but they'll be swinging over the top of it."
Studying within the Electrical program, Guzzo is nothing if not pragmatic as he looks to his future. "I will finish this program in the next two semesters," he said. "If there is a university interested in me, then I will pursue that."
"If not, since I would be done my Electrical program, I would just come home and work."