East Northport native Matt Fleishman, 22, cannot believe his good fortune. After playing collegiate ball at Villanova, the Commack High graduate found himself undrafted and with an unsure baseball future. But then his hometown team came calling, and now Fleishman finds himself in a clubhouse chock full of former big-leaguers. He is the youngest player on the Ducks roster but has made the adjustment to pro ball rather seamlessly. Entering Sunday's game, he was batting .310 with three RBIs in 29 at-bats.What are your some of your memories playing at Commack High?"It was a fantastic time. Great kids, great program . . . it's still a great a program. We played really well together, and unfortunately we lost in the Suffolk County championship. I think we could have gone a lot further, but we had a great time and played some good baseball."
Talk about the thrill of going straight from college to playing for your hometown team.
"This is a blessing. It wasn't expected right away, and I am fortunate to have this opportunity. I'm having a great time playing here."
Was there a chip on your shoulder having gone undrafted out of college?"Maybe. It's not something I like to think about because it's just a game when it comes down to it. So I've been just trying to go out there and play hard every day. So as long as this opportunity keeps going, I will keep trying to make the most out of it."
What person in the clubhouse made you the most starstruck?"Definitely Armando Benitez. I remember watching him as a kid closing it out. He's a phenomenal pitcher. It's weird going from watching him to being a teammate of his. I have a lot of respect for him. He's a great person and just another great teammate."
What has this experience been like for your parents?"They might have been a little more starstruck at first, seeing me out there with older guys and stuff. They love watching me play. And as long as I'm going out there and having fun, they are happy."