Haddonfield Alum Signed by MLB

Lili Ali, Arts Editor

Haddonfield alum Joey Loperfido has recently been signed to Major League Baseball, playing for the Houston Astros. Prior to his professional baseball career, Loperfido played for Duke University. We conducted an interview with him via email where he discusses the overall process of his successes, his baseball experience in Haddonfield, his personal idol and inspiration, and his advice to aspiring athletes who wish to play professionally.

 

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“I think that it is easy to be fixated on a goal or a destination, but it is really hard to appreciate the people and experiences that make up the journey along the way.””

— Haddonfield alum and professional ballplayer Joey Loperfido

 

Lili Ali: What would you say to aspiring athletes who wish to ‘go pro’?

Joey Loperfido: My advice to aspiring athletes who want to play professionally in any sport would be to fall in love with the process. I think that it is easy to be fixated on a goal or a destination, but it is really hard to appreciate the people and experiences that make up the journey along the way. During struggles or adversity I have always leaned on my relationships and the important people in my life, so to anyone who wants to play at the next level I would say value those relationships throughout your career and savor every moment. Even for someone who just wants to make a JV or varsity team, earn playing time, or get the opportunity to play in college, I would encourage them to embrace adversity because it is unavoidable. The better you can be at disassociating what makes you who you are with the results of a game, the faster you will be able to learn and grow from that hardship.

LA: What was your experience like at Duke University?

JL: I think my experience at Duke University was about as good as it gets. As a student, I felt like I had every opportunity to learn and develop as a person. And as a member of the baseball team, I was able to play alongside a great group of guys and a staff that was devoted to our success. I felt like we were able to make historic steps for the program year after year, and ending my career with an ACC Championship is something I will always be proud of. My teammates and coaches and the moments we were fortunate enough to share together are what stick out to me the most when I think about my time at Duke.

LA: How has your experience been with the Houston Astros? What was the overall process for getting to where you are now?

JL: I was drafted by the Astros this past July in the 2021 MLB Draft, and from there spent a few weeks at their complex in Florida getting acclimated to the organization. At the start of August, the other draftees and I were sent to Fayetteville, North Carolina to make our professional debuts for the Single-A Affiliate, The Fayetteville Woodpeckers. We finished out the regular season on September 19th, and after that began what is called ‘Instructional League’ back in Florida which will run from September 22nd to October 6th. Instructional League is basically like a mini-camp for newly drafted players and other players in the organization to make adjustments and receive individualized instruction before the start of the offseason.

LA: How was your baseball experience in Haddonfield? Who in Haddonfield was your biggest supporter (coach, family, etc.)?

JL: Some of my earliest baseball memories are Haddonfield T-Ball and playing catch with my Dad in our front lawn. My Dad and Mom were always my biggest supporters, and along with some genetics they gave me every opportunity and resource I could have asked for to be successful. They love to watch me play, especially through college and now professionally, so to be able to share those experiences with them is awesome. I am also really grateful for the relationship I have with Coach Bickel, who will deny any and all credit, but he has had a very meaningful hand in my career. He has always checked in with me throughout college and has followed my career every step of the way, which is reflective of how much he loves his players and the pride he takes in the Haddonfield baseball community.

LA: Which baseball player has inspired you the most?

JL: I would say Chase Utley has inspired me the most and is someone I have looked up to since I was a little kid. Although he is now retired, he always played hard and went about things the right way. Watching the Phillies World Series Run in 2008 is a big reason why I fell in love with the game, and I am hoping they can bring some playoff baseball back to Philly this year.

 

Joey Loperfido and his parents, along with Haddonfield Baseball Coach Bob Bickel, announcing that he will play for Duke University. (Photo Credit: Haddonfield Athletics)