Dominic Poretta is the man Otterbein called upon this season to finish baseball games. The senior closer was an OAC honorable all-conference selection.
However, Dom's impact on the field pales in comparison to his work off it.
His biggest fan, Ryan Trubee, will tell you. When asked who his favorite Otterbein baseball player is, Ryan quickly responds, "Dominic Porretta."
Twenty-year-old Ryan has autism. He and Dom became friends four years ago when they had a class together at Thomas Worthington High School.
"Kind of what I saw developing was Ryan was often times by himself", Porretta said. "I volunteered. I told the teacher Ryan could be with me, and I think that would be really beneficial."
Ryan's family was fully supportive of this move.
"(Dom) challenged Ryan, he had high expectations for him,” said Kim Trubee, Ryan's mother. "He really tried to include him in everything."
Because of that, Kim reached out to Dom to see if they could continue to work together after high school
"I got a note right before I started college, and (Kim) was asking me if I was interested in being a care provider for him" Porretta recalled.
He jumped at the chance.
"Seeing the impact I was having on him, seeing how much he was maturing, I think was the most influential factor in my decision. Just seeing him grow and continue to develop into a young man and ultimately now into a grown man,” added Porretta.
As a result, about once every week, Dom and Ryan will enjoy a night away from the field. Ryan plans the evenings, and Dom happily obliges. One recent night saw the two play mini-golf, visit Dom's parents, and eat some ice cream at Dairy Queen.
"That's kind of the set up. I'm helping him develop those social skills, the peer interaction, the inclusion aspect of everything" Porretta said. "But the craziest thing is he gives way more to me than I think I give to him."
Kim describes Dom as "an older son." In essence, both these families feel like families to one another.
On Senior Day at Otterbein, Dom walked out onto the field with his family. Right next to him was Ryan.
"I'd definitely say that's the greatest gift he's given him, he's Ryan's first friend" Kim said.
Having graduated Sunday from Otterbein, Dom will pursue is MBA at Ohio State. One of the reasons he chose OSU was to remain close to Ryan. It's a friendship he hopes to see develop even further.
"We're going to be friends, we're going to be brothers and he's going to be as much a part of my future life with my own family, and I hope I'm still a huge part of his life, and I know we will be," Porretta said.
Dom said that the world would be a better place if more people had the joy Ryan possesses. That's true. But it's also a better place to live with people like Dom making this type of impact.
Watch 10TV and refresh 10tv.com for the latest news.