Nick Polizonis (left) and Tyler Baldwin (right) were Cromwell's two senior baseball players this spring
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the high school spring sports season was over before it started. Over the next couple of months we’ll recognize several local senior athletes, who have invested countless hours, days, weeks, months, and years into their respective sports only to have it cut short by this unfortunate time in our history.
This week we focus on the senior baseball players. Information provided by head coaches: Cromwell-Christian Budzik, Middletown- Josh Cofield, Newington-Ben Alaimo, Rocky Hill-Bill Eller, Wethersfield-Mark Bagdasarian
Message from coach Budzik, “Both [of our seniors] were captains as juniors and really set a great example and high expectations for the younger kids on the team. This season had high promise and we were going to go as far as they would take us.”
Nick Polizonis was reliable behind and at the plate, racking up 23 hits while hitting .390, and leading the team with six double in 20 games a season ago. As a catcher, he threw out 75% of runners. Polizonis was also the winning pitcher in team’s most impressive win of the season against Haddam Killingworth last spring . He will continue his athletic and academic career playing baseball at the University of Southern Maine.
Tyler Baldwin was a dominant pitcher, posting a 1.98 ERA on the mound in 2019. Baldwin had 24 hits, averaging .387 at the plate in 16 games as the team’s starting shortstop, earning him first-team All-Shoreline Conference last spring. He will attend Southern Connecticut State University and is keeping his baseball options open.
Message from coach Cofield, “While it is heartbreaking that they couldn't play their senior year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been a pleasure and an honor to work with each of them. If there is one thing this season has taught us it is to never take anything for granted and to enjoy every moment because you never know what tomorrow will bring. They will all be part of the Blue Dragon family forever, and I wish them the best of luck in the next steps in their lives.”
Cade Napoletano showed tremendous commitment and dedication to the game of baseball. Coach Cofield said Napoletano was a pleasure to work with for the past four years.
Lucas Radziewicz was a three-year starter and showed a great work ethic and commitment to improving during his time at MHS.
Cody Sanford played baseball all four years and led by example, giving 100% effort every day. Coach Cofield described Sanford as an extremely hard working kid
John Shettleworth played baseball at MHS for three years. Shettleworth brought a positive attitude to the field and was described as a supportive and encouraging teammate.
Jack Passamano played all four years and was known for being a hard worker. Passamano was described as a great team player who was always willing to support his teammates.
Greyson Pizzonia was slated to be the team captain in 2020. Pizzonia was a dedicated player who put up great numbers during his time at MHS. He’ll will be attending Adelphi University and playing collegiate baseball for the New York-based Panthers next spring.
Emily Meeker has been a student manager for the baseball team the past four years. Meeker was always willing to help with whatever is needed and will be missed next year.
Kailee Milardo was also a four-year student manager. Milardo’s dedication to the team has been extremely appreciated and she was always going above and beyond, calling in stats, and supporting each team as needed.
Message from coach Alaimo, “I feel very badly for all the players but especially the seniors. This was a special group of boys who have played and grown-up together on the baseball diamond. For them to lose the last chance to strive together to accomplish a goal they have been aiming at for years was tough! Luckily these boys have great heads on their shoulders and although they are enormously disappointed they will handle this adversity well and become stronger because of it. I know them well enough to know that is true.”
Gunnar Johnson was three-year starter, who was a rock behind the plate as a catcher. Johnson was a two-time all-state and two-time all-conference selection, leading the team in most offensive statistics for past two seasons. He set a single season batting average record in 2019, hitting .540, and was on pace to break the career RBI record and reach the 100-hit milestone in 2020. Coach Alaimo believed that Johnson was going to be in the running for Gatorade Player of the Year in 2020. Johnson’s playing days will continues, as he is off to play at DI Wofford College in South Carolina.
Anthony Parafati was a pitcher who was expected to play a key role after coming back from an injury in 2019. Despite the injury, Parafati stayed with the team to do what ever he could to help. Coach Alaimo called him a “terrific young man” and said he was going to make his mark in 2020.
Ryan Saindon was reliable in the outfield and at the plate, hitting .300 near the top of the line-up in 2019. Saindon had an OBP (on-base percentage) of .441 and was known for his speedy and smooth base running. He was in line to have an even better season in 2020.
Jon Pyne played outfield and pitched, earning all-conference in 2019. Pyne hit .309 and showed good pop with his bat with four doubles, and also possessing terrific speed by scoring 18 runs last spring. The lefty was slated as a starting pitcher in 2020.
Danny Crouse was set to take over at shortstop in 2020, after seeing spot duty a season ago. Crouse has smooth hands and high baseball IQ, which earned him the starting job this spring. Alaimo said he was extremely excited to watch him play this year.
Domenick Bukowski played second base and showed a ton of potential as a junior, hitting .286. Bukowski is a solid defender, a hard worker, and a great teammate, who was ready to play everyday this season.
Sam Dionne showed very good ability as a pitcher a season ago, starting three games and posting two wins. During those three starts, he gave up zero earned runs and struck out 16, while walking only one. Dionne was set to be atop the pitching rotation in 2020 and was expected to have a tremendous season. He was also a very good infielder with good range, clean exchange, and a quick release.
Matt Sevigny was a consistent pitcher and center fielder. Sevigny was described as a strong pull hitter with power at the plate, and having a quick first step with great tracking ability in the field. On the mound, he had a put away fastball with good location.
Ryan Robb pitched and played third base, excelling as a gap-to-gap hitter at the plate. On the mound, Robb had great hands with a plus arm and devastating movement on all pitches, specializing in the curveball.
Ryan Boyle played catcher and outfield, and could hit with power all over the field. Boyle was a great game-manger with a strong arm behind the plate.
Justin Fraleigh was a versatile fielder with a strong arm, playing first base, shortstop, third base and pitching at RHHS. Fraleigh was consistent at putting the barrel on the ball with power to put the ball in either direction and had a solid glove and footwork around the diamond. He is off to continue his academic and baseball career at Roger Williams University.
Rockwell Spalding played left and right field, and had a strong, accurate arm from either outfield position. At the plate, Spalding was a great line drive hitter.
Message from coach Bagdasarian, “We would have been a solid group because of [the seniors] leadership. Solid group of ball players, quality students and even better just all around kids in general. Feel bad for all the seniors who played winter and spring sports. Even the kids who didn't they lost proms, senior picnics, and maybe even graduation. Really sad.”
Matt Bagdasarian was entering his third varsity season, pitching and playing infield. Bagdasarian was a contributor on the Eagles 2018 state championship team as a designated hitter and third baseman. Last season, he earned all conference selection, as well as being selected to the CHSCA junior prospect All-Star game.
Brandon Bukowski was also entering his third varsity season and was named all-conference in 2019. Bukowski was a versatile outfield who would have been a top-of-the-order guy in 2020.
Hunter Dombal was the starting catcher for the 2018 state championship team and earned all-conference in 2019. Dombal was a solid defensive catcher was slated to be a mainstay in the middle of the lineup in 2020.
Ryan Koplin played first base year and had grown into a team leader in the off-season. Koplin’s role was set to expand in 2020, thanks to his solid bat at the plate and reliable glove in the field.
Joe Coleman played outfield and pitched, and was coming off a solid junior season. Coleman was in-line for a large role on the mound and was set to bat in the middle of the lineup in 2020.
Julian Gonzalez was an versatile infielder, playing shortstop, second base, and third base. Described as a top-of-the-order kid with middle-of-the-lineup pop.
Andrew Desrochers was set to roam the center field for the Eagles this fall. Desrochers tracks the ball in the outfield extremely well and has a good approach at the plate.
Joe Porriello would have been part of the pitching staff this year, either as a regular starter or a bullpen option that was brought in to get big outs.
Nick Babineau, would have played in the outfield and helped handle some of the catching duties when Dombal was used as a pitcher. Babineau was set to have a key role in 2020.
Owen Barnett was prepping for his first year on varsity, helping out in the outfield and at the plate for in 2020.
Ryan Santiago was another first-year varsity player who would have had opportunities in the outfield this spring.
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin