Senior Spotlight: It’s not a Fais

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Courtesy of Joanne Whooley

Matt Fais as he glares down to an Indian Hills pitcher before he punishes a baseball down the line for a long “foul ball”

Cooper Poggioli

Matt Fais is an overpowering force on the mound that seems unfair to the high school baseball offenses. Other teams know that when they face Fais, they can only be at their best or they don’t stand a chance. Matt is in his second varsity season after his sophomore year was taken away by Covid and potentially the chance to display his skill for yet another year. Matt has always been a standout athlete on the diamond, playing for prestigious teams like the New Jersey Axemen and more recently, Northeast Supreme. The humble pitcher becomes a different person on the mound, locked in and ready to take on any hitter that finds himself face to face with the curly brown hair that can hardly restrain a hat. A significant landmark of this incredible career is his impressive recruitment to a top D3 baseball program, Wheaton College in Massachusetts. 

For the past two years I have had the good fortune of playing with Matt and have learned a lot from this phenomenal athlete. What I have witnessed from Fais is a calm and collected demeanor on and off the field. When I asked Matt about his time at Ramapo he replied, “We have had so many ups and downs but throughout the process I’ve made some friends and memories I will have for the rest of my life. That is more important to me than anything else, but winning on top is definitely a bonus…The sky’s the limit for us and we are super excited to continue competing the rest of the season. Hopefully we can add our name to a couple banners once it’s all said and done.” His words only reflect desire for team success instead of his own and he will be the first person to talk about the talent of the team rather than the talent of himself. In the hallways, you can always see Matt with a smile talking with the many people that consider him a friend. But the truth is he is a friend to all, and anyone that comes across his path can expect a warm greeting and an equally warm handshake. On the field, he is just as friendly, but behind his eyes is a drive unlike any other, a drive that allows his high velocity fastballs and bending sliders to have such a devastating effect on an offense. Other than his physical success, Fais has an unbelievable sports mind that, like a chess player, can see inside the opponent’s mind and discern what would and wouldn’t work before it is even brought to fruition. 

As his catcher, I was able to observe how he could see things that neither I nor many others couldn’t. When I’m on the field with him, I might not understand his reasoning, but after an explanation I am astonished by the knowledge that he gathers from the most subtle tips. And Matt would never let anyone feel as though they were inferior. He treats everyone with the kind of compassion that makes it seem like he has known you your whole life. Matt has recently undergone a change as last year he was confined to just pitcher, but now is expanding his role to third base and a prominent hitter. He accepted this change with grace that established himself among the best fielders and hitters on the team. Even through inevitable hiccups, he has always maintained his ability to be the best teammate with the intentions of doing only the best to help out Ramapo Baseball. His charisma on the buses and prior to games lightens the mood to remind us all of the joys of athletics, especially the great game of baseball. Matt’s reception of Senior Spotlight is not only because of the outstanding athletic performance that he continues to display, but also of the ability Matt has to consistently be a phenomenal teammate and raise the game of everyone around him. On a more personal note, although I have only known Matt a short two years, he has constantly treated me like and has allowed me to regard him as one of my closest friends and I look forward to his future as a leader, an athlete, a friend, a mentor, and an overall great man.