By Jenelyn Russo     4/5/2015

Christian Molfetta remembers learning to love the game of baseball as clearly as if it were yesterday. He was no more than 2 years old when his dad would gather the neighborhood kids together at a local park for pick-up games. He spent hours being chased around the bases by the older kids, soaking up everything the game had to offer. He grew up a Yankees fan, and to this day wears the number 2 on his jersey.

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“Watching Derek Jeter play, that’s what really inspired me to play baseball,” says Molfetta.

Now a senior at JSerra Catholic High School, Molfetta is a four-year varsity player and three-year starter for the Lions, making his mark on the top-ranked high school baseball team in the state in a unique way.

“One of the things I take pride in as a player is that I can play multiple positions,” says the 18-year-old Molfetta. “I’m more of a utility player, which opens up more opportunities for me to get on the field. I plug in where the team needs it most.”

JSerra head baseball coach Brett Kay says that Molfetta’s play has been key in keeping the Lions on top this season.

“Christian has definitely played a vital role in our season so far,” says Kay. “We have him in at either catcher or second base. He’s a quiet leader, humble and observant. And as a third-year starter, the other players know to look to him.”

Molfetta has never referred to himself as a “superstar,” but rather one who has had to work for every inch of his success. Whether he felt he was shorter than other players or lacked the arm strength of his peers, Molfetta has used those challenges to motivate him instead of define him.

“Throughout my career as a baseball player, it’s never been easy,” says Molfetta. “I’ve always had to work for what I have. In the long run, I know that’s going to pay off for me.”

Off the field, Molfetta plays a key role in leadership at JSerra as a member of Caritas Christi, a diverse group of students who are chosen through a rigorous selection process to be the “face of JSerra.” These students serve both at their school and in the community through events such as assisting with weekly mass, hosting open houses and participating at local charity events.

After graduation, the Laguna Beach resident will head to Northern California to play baseball at Stanford University. Even after his playing days are over, Molfetta has a strong desire to stay close to the game, with plans for a career in sports management or as a general manager.

Often described as a “game of failure,” baseball has been instrumental in teaching Molfetta about how to deal with adversity, both in the game and in life.

“There’s been low points and there’s been stressful times,” says Molfetta, “but my faith has allowed me to look ahead and work through those times, and then, ultimately, be successful.”