Tony Iafolla first put on catcher’s gear as a Medfield Little Leaguer, and for more than 30 years they have been the tools of his baseball trade.
Last year, his 15th as a standout player in the amateur Yawkey League of Greater Boston, he helped spark the Revere Rockies to the league championship.
A career .362 hitter, he is a former League MVP and recipient of the its Silver Slugger and Gold Glove awards.
While a 28-year-old Framingham State University freshman in 2011, he was encouraged to try out for baseball by senior catcher Sean Callahan, now head baseball coach at the university.
From his sophomore through senior years, Iafolla hit .304, but more importantly, graduated in 2014 and ``found a new path in my life.’’ A landscaper before college, Iafolla, 37, resides in Walpole and is a residential and commercial property manager.
A baseball captain and team MVP at Medfield High, Iafolla also played four varsity seasons as a hockey defenseman.
A longtime assistant coach with the high school hockey team, he was behind the bench with head coach Toby Carlow when they won the 2016 Division 2 state championship.
``As a player or a coach I like to see smiles on the faces of my teammates and my players,’’ said Iafolla. ``That means you’re enjoying what you’re doing and that’s a very important part of being a team.’’
Iafolla, a right-handed hitting slugger, used a 35-ounce wood bat given to him by a teammate and smashed a prodigious home run, well over 400 feet, while playing in a 28/Plus tournament at Eldredge Park in Orleans.
``It was the perfect storm. I’ve never hit a ball harder in my life,’’ he said.
Winning the Yawkey League title was bittersweet for Iafolla, who was mourning the loss of his grandmother, Dorothy Ruzzo. ``We won the championship on the day of her funeral,’’ he recalled.
Starting early next month, the league is planning to play a reduced schedule with fewer teams, and while taking precautions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
``I’m undecided about returning because injuries take their toll when you’re a catcher,’’ said Iafolla, ``but I’m open-minded. It’s hard to just walk away.’’
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