Windows shattered and shingles blew off the roof as Hurricane Dorian battered Ferron Moss’s home in Nassau, Bahamas, in September 2019.
Moss and his family hunkered down in their house for three straight days as the category-5 hurricane carved a path of destruction through the 700-island Bahamas. More than 200 people lost their lives and 29,500 more were left homeless and/or jobless in what would be the most destructive cyclone on record to strike the chain of islands.
Luckily, the storm mostly spared New Providence island, where Nassau is located, other than some heavy rainfall, flooding and wind damage, which caused power outages. Moss’s house was one of the fortunate ones, suffering a few broken windows and lost shingles.
“It was a pretty rough experience,” Moss said. “A pretty dramatic experience. But the hurricane didn’t hit our island as hard as the other islands. We didn’t get as much damage as Abaco or Freeport. Those are the two that got hit the hardest.”
That was 15 months before Moss, a 6-foot-1, 170-pound infielder, signed with Centralia College baseball in December 2020, the same month he turned 18.
His baseball career began at 5- or 6-years-old in Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, a tropical city of nearly 400,000 people, located 180 miles southeast of Miami. One day, his father brought him out to a baseball field for team tryouts. He’s never stopped playing since.
“At first, it was all new to me, so it was about learning everything about the game,” Moss said. “I wouldn’t say I was in love with the game at first.”
Baseball started to really grow on him at about 11- or 12-years-old, when everything began to click. Still, it was no easy task playing in the Bahamas. The fields he played on were not perfectly manicured like here in the U.S. They were rough and uneven, and when ground balls were hit his way, they would often bounce off a bump in the field and shoot off in another direction.
“Balls would have a lot of funny bonks,” Moss said. “It wasn’t the best process. The ball doesn’t come as smooth as the fields over here. It’s one thing I had to learn and get used to.”
Baseball wasn’t his only focus growing up. Moss was a three-sport standout at Charles W. Saunders High School in Nassau, playing soccer, track and field and softball. Yes, softball. His high school didn’t have a baseball team, so Moss made the most of it.
He exploded for a .789 batting average with 31 home runs and 55 RBIs, while holding a 3.26 GPA. By the end of his senior year, his high school named him its Athlete of the Year.
For baseball, Moss played in the Freedom Farm Baseball League, one of two main youth leagues in the Bahamas. Freedom Farm is made up of eight divisions with 44 total teams and close to 700 players. The league typically sends 8-10 teams to compete in tournaments in the U.S. each summer. That’s how Moss was first introduced to the U.S., playing tourneys in Florida and Virginia.
Perfectgame.org, the world’s largest baseball scouting service, provided an in-depth scouting report on the switch-hitting Moss after he competed in its 2019 national showcase.
“Sets up even from (the) left side with good balance to swing, toe-tap trigger with online stride, gets barrel moving uphill and shows contact skills (with a) good projection for power,” the report stated. “Similar set up from (the) right side with slightly more bat speed, stays connected through swing, shows good ability to get the barrel out and drive it (and) good hitting tools from both sides.”
He was introduced to Centralia College coach Kawika Emsley-Pai through a scout. From there, the two had a few Zoom video meetings about the possibility of Moss coming to play in Centralia.
With no college baseball in the Bahamas, playing for a college team in the U.S. was a dream come true for Moss, and Centralia College seemed like the perfect spot. He accepted the scholarship offer.
Moss finally arrived in Centralia last week, by himself, moving into an apartment with one of his Trailblazers’ teammates, Grant Roosma. The biggest change so far has been adjusting from living in a tropical climate all his life to the temperate rainforest of western Washington.
“It’s a lot different because it’s much cooler,” Moss said. “It’s much colder. In the Bahamas you only find a couple rainy days. Most of the time it’s only sun.”
The team is currently one week into a two-week quarantine period, part of the college’s and Northwest Athletic Conference’s return-to-play guidelines and protocols. It’s been about five months since he’s played in an actual game. He’s anxious to get back on the field and continue working toward his next dream: playing in the MLB.
“I’m just excited to actually come because, right now, in the Bahamas, there’s not much baseball being played,” Moss said. “I’m excited to get back into a schedule of playing baseball.”