John Fogarty is ready to play centerfield for Clarke

Clarke center fielder John Fogarty makes a running

Clarke center fielder John Fogarty makes a running catch. (April 4, 2013) (Credit: Dan Neri)

Put him in, Coach -- he's ready to play . . . centerfield!

That might have been what Clarke coach Tom Abruscato thought to himself when he decided last year to move John Fogarty over from leftfield.

Yep!

Clarke's baseball team has a player named John Fogarty and he is the centerfielder.

And, oh yes, the senior is well aware of his name being almost identical to singer John Fogerty, whose 1985 hit "Centerfield" has become a baseball anthem.

"He's 6-1 and 195 pounds, but he can fly, so putting him in center was an easy decision for me and a smooth adjustment for him," Abruscato said.

Fogarty made varsity as a catcher in 10th grade but soon was converted to an outfielder. He took well to centerfield last season, earning all-county honors and a scholarship to Adelphi.

"Once I moved, all the guys were joking about it," said Fogarty, who bats third. "We laughed at how ironic it is."

For the record, Fogarty was named after his great grandfather, but said he has embraced the inquiries -- and puns -- that come with the name and, now, his position.

At the beginning of semesters when attendance is taken for the first time in class, he said, the questions usually follow. Plus "Centerfield," coincidentally, has been the background music on Clarke's athletic website since 2002, and it's often played on the sound system there during games.

"John's been coming to our community baseball camps since he was 5 and we've been singing it to him since," Abruscato said. "He takes it well. He knows the words and he's become familiar with it."

He's become a fan, actually. Fogarty said he enjoys several hits by Creedence Clearwater Revival -- the band Fogerty was a member of -- including "Fortunate Son" and "Lookin' Out My Backdoor."

And with Clarke off to a 3-0 start and among the favorites in Nassau Class A, he can enjoy a moment in the sun.

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