A Minute With Garrison Ferone’22
The college recordholder for hits played top notch baseball and much more.
In late April, fifth-year biology and Spanish language double major and shortstop Garrison Ferone’22 got his 205th hit, breaking Beloit’s all-time record previously held by Mike Kovach’11. At a doubleheader against Cornell College less than a week later, the Bucs clinched the Midwest Conference championship for the first time since 2016.
Needless to say, it’s been an astronomical year for Ferone, now crowned the college’s “Hit King.” But it’s one year built on four others, including a semester studying abroad in the Galapagos Islands off Ecuador’s coast. He’ll spend the summer doing biology research in Oregon, then start graduate school in tropical ecology and conservation back in Ecuador in the fall.
Q: What did it feel like to break the all-time hitting record?
It was a very exciting thing for me, but it kind of crept up — I didn’t really know much about it because when you’re playing, you’re more focused on winning and doing your job on the field. A few people started to mention that I was getting close to that record. My teammates actually got the ball for me — my 205th hit — and stopped the game to ask the umpires if we could get the ball and keep it. One of my best friends, Thomas Kosakowski’23, gave it to me and everybody on the team signed it, so I’ll have that memory forever. It was pretty short-lived because we needed to win that game, so there wasn’t much time to dwell on what happened. It was definitely really cool and I was thankful to have been recognized for that.
Q: Talk about the Midwest Championship-clinching game.
It was crazy. In all my years here, I never had a more emotional and fun game than that one. Winning the championship game was the highlight of my baseball career. We had a big Gatorade tub and threw that in the air and everyone was jumping all over the place. It was the coolest on-field moment I’ve ever had. I completely forgot about all the record stuff because that’s what we really worked for.
Q: What was so special about this team?
I’ve had five different teams here, and my first couple years, I didn’t really understand team dynamics and how that played a role in success on the field. The last two or three years, I’ve started to understand how getting along with everybody factors into winning and how everyone interacting with each other and playing for each other plays an important role. Now that we’ve gotten to be so close as a team and everybody hangs out together and gets along well and plays for each other, I think that’s the reason that we’re so good. That’s setting the stage for the younger guys to keep passing forward that good attitude.
Q: What role did Coach Dave DeGeorge’89 play?
Coach DeGeorge is is one of the most prominent figures I’m grateful for at Beloit. He’s one of the most gifted public speakers I’ve ever met. He presents negative outcomes in a positive way. When we have a failure on the team or don’t play up to our standards, he does a great job of pointing out the teaching moments and making us feel like it’s a learning opportunity. He’s very good at interacting with each player on an individual level. He’s really funny in high stress moments on the field — he’s a good person to ground you. He’s definitely the best coach I’ve ever had and a really good dude.
Q: What else are you thankful for at Beloit?
I’ve respected and gotten along well with the professors in Spanish and biology, and I got a lot out of those classes. I think they did a great job preparing me for study abroad and graduation. One of the most interesting classes I’ve taken was Latino Studies with Spanish professor Sylvia Lopez. It’s a good class because it highlights a lot of the underrepresented conflicts that we’ve had in the past with Latin America. I think Sylvia does a great job of giving her students a chance to learn about Latin American cultures, which are so prominent in the United States. Biology professor Tawnya Cary, who got me into fisheries biology and environmental science to begin with, taught me a lot in both aquatic biology and ecology.
Q: What are you most proud of?
Just being able to spend time with my teammates and coaches was the most heartwarming thing. It gave me the chance to have a friend group right when I came into the school, which was important because I was pretty nervous about who I was going to spend all of my time with. I think the most enjoyable thing about the baseball team was going to Florida with them and going to away games and staying in hotels. Just being together as a 50-person family was pretty cool. They’re really supportive guys, and every year, the older guys mentor the younger guys. The people who were older taught me the ropes and showed me, “Here’s how you can be part of something bigger.” Then that gets passed on through the younger guys. It’s a system that breeds a lot of positivity and a lot of good friends between us.
Q: What was your biggest takeaway from studying in the Galapagos?
Being able to meet people from different backgrounds and cultures and feel a part of something different pulled me from my comfort zone. And being able to continue my focus points of study and perform research and meet scientists who were into the same things I was into. I want to continue to do similar types of research with fishery sciences and environmental biology. I went into my study abroad trip with a level of Spanish that wasn’t enough to hold conversations very fluently, and because I took advantage of all the opportunities to learn the language, I came out of it much more advanced than how I came in.
Q: What was the best animal you encountered there?
The sea lions were really cool, and the orcas and dolphins and sea turtles, but my favorite were actually the damselfish, these little reef fish that pick up sea urchins off of their habitats and throw them to one side. It’s pretty cool. We did a little study of their behavior, and I really liked those fish a lot.