Off to College they go for TM student-athletes

By Rich Mancuso

Anthony Ortiz wanted to sign his letter of intent to attend Jarvis Christian, a two year college in Texas in front of his friends and family at the TM Baseball Training Academy. It was the eve before he departed for his next venture in life towards his goal of possibly becoming a known catcher for a Major League Baseball team.

Though, the goal has always been from Tony Melendez and Jessy, every youngster who enrolls and participates at TM will attend college. Ortiz and 13 more student-athletes begin their venture in the next few weeks and were bid good luck in front of family and friends recently at the Academy on Seabury Avenue.

“It’s not about baseball, it’s about your grades,” Melendez said with sincerity as his latest group of youngsters said goodbye for now but are sure to return on semester breaks. They always return to see Tony and Jessy because the Academy has become their second home.

He said, “Becoming a student-athlete is not easy. Make yourself proud.” Ortiz is one of the many over the past seven years who attended TM Academy and grew as time moved on. He is now ready for that next venture.

Ortiz informed Tony, the proper thing was to sign that letter of intent where it all began.

“What I achieved here I will take to Jarvis and will never forget the discipline and respect I learned to achieve success,” Ortiz said. “I will never forget the team work and how they have stressed how important it is to do well in school and that education comes before baseball. Those who come after me, I hope will have the same success as I leave here for now.”

And that was the overwhelming opinion as Melendez and Jessy, who built this foundation, always want their youngsters to leave the academy with determination, pride, discipline, most of all signing that letter of intent. It does not have to always be a four-year or two-year commitment to play baseball.

It is about the education and moving on to their next venture in life. Ortiz will attend a school far from the inner city. Others will not be that far from home attending Queensboro Community, Iona, John Jay, SUNY Maritime, Hofstra and Bridgeport and St. Thomas Aquinas.

And if baseball does not come to fruition, Lenny Ortiz will be learning tools of the trade of media communications at Oneonta State University, four hours from the Bronx in upstate New York.

“What you learn here you take with you forever,” Ortiz said.  And that is what it is all about at TM as they move on and continue their journey.


Anthony D’Ancona – Suny Maritime, NY

Anthony Ortiz- Jarvis Texas

Lenny Ortiz- Oneonta State University, NY

Brandon Castillo – Queensboro, NY

Mike Tarpey – Aldephi University, NY

Christian Rodriquez- Coppen State, Maryland

Matt Sostre – Queensboro, NY

Allan Contreras- Iona College, NY

Joel Mendez – St. Thomas Aquinas, NY

Marlon Belliard- John Jay, NY

Bryan Tavera- Bridgeport University, CT

Niko Hagerty, Hofstra University, NY

Jason Valderrama, Alfred University, NY

Robert Casellas- Suny Adirondack, NY

Comment: Rich Mancuso, Mancuso