Cromwell’s BuDzik headed to UNh
(Cromwell's Noah Budzik signed his letter of intent to play baseball at the University of New Haven. Pictured at CHS for signing with grandparents Betty Ann and John Hart , parents Michele and Tony, and his sister Sadie.)
Cromwell senior Noah Budzik has a season left on the high school baseball diamonds, but the future graduate has already inked his letter of intent to play collegiately at the University of New Haven.
“I really liked the coaches and players that took me around the campus,” Budzik said of his decision to play at UHN, “The school was nice and it had a major that I liked, in Business Management, that I could do and get a good degree.”
It’s a win for the state of Connecticut, as one of the area’s best players is staying in the Nutmeg State to continue his baseball career.
“It’s good because my family is close and they can come watch my games and I can visit home anytime I want.”
Playing college ball is the natural next step for Budzik, who has grown up in a family that values and excels in athletics.
“We’re all sports all the time in our house. We love it.”
The Budzik family moved to Cromwell from Maryland when Noah was four years old and quickly became a household name in youth athletics.
Noah’s older brother Christian starred on the same baseball fields and then went on to play collegiately at Eastern Connecticut State University. His older sister Maddy was a softball standout for the Panthers before graduating in 2016 and his younger sister Sadie is currently a sophomore at the high school, shining on the softball field and volleyball court.
“When I was young, maybe five or six, I would watch my older brother play,” said the younger Budzik brother, “I just wanted to follow him and do what he did. That’s how it all got started.”
Budzik is looking forward to the challenge of competing at the next level and can lean on his experiences from his early days on the field.
“Growing up I used to play a lot against older kids, so going in as a freshman I’ll like the challenge of playing against all the older upperclassmen. I think I’ll be able to learn a lot from the coaches and older kids on my team to be able to succeed and win a couple of games up there.”
The confident Budzik will be joining a solid Chargers clubhouse at UNH led by veteran head coach Chris Celano, who has won nearly 60% of his games since taking over the program in 2012.
Celano will love that that his new young prospect is versatile in the field and brings the added dimension of being a lefty at the plate.
“When I was younger my dad tried to get me to switch hit and I guess it’s just natural,” recalled Budzik, who added that he enjoys fishing trips with his father, “I golf lefty and play hockey lefty, but everything else is righty. I shoot basketball righty, throw righty. A majority of pitchers are righties, so I guess it’s an advantage because it’s easier to see the ball come out of their hand.”
Before heading to the southern part of Connecticut for college, Budzik has some unfinished business at CHS.
This winter he’ll be back on the court for the Panthers basketball team, where the sharp-shooter averaged 17 points per game as a junior a season ago. Budzik will highlight a strong nucleus returningto the court, including fellow seniors Reese Reyes, Austin Roy and David Dewey.
Despite being vastly different games, Budzik has used his experiences on the court to help him handle stressful moments on the field.
“The pressure of playing and being in close games gives you that experience. Even if they’re different sports they can help you in situations that you may not be comfortable in.”
So far the biggest and most pressured filled moment for Budzik came during the summer of 2016 when he was a key part of the RCP American Legion team that won the state championship and advanced to the regional World Series.
It was his third title in American Legion baseball, also winning two championships at the junior level.
In the spring, he’ll be putting on the Panthers uniform one final time before trading in his black and red for the blue and gold of UNH.
“We’re going to try and win back-to-back-to-back Shoreline Championships and obviously winning a state championship would be cool,” the senior shortstop said of the impending high schoolbaseball season, “I think we’re going to be pretty good. We have a lot of experience coming back. Pitching and defense should be ourstrength and we should be able to string a couple of runs together. ”
The Panthers welcome back their full pitching staff, which includes Budzik, Roy, Dewey, Jared Valentin and Zach Lombardo. The deep rotation of pitchers, along with a solid defense, will provide the Panthers their best chance to reach the Class M championship after semifinal and quarterfinal appearances the past two seasons.
As for Budzik, he pitches when called upon but his natural position is in the field and that’s where he’ll be in New Haven next spring when he writes the next chapter in his baseball diaries.
8/3/2022 02:02:09 pm
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Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin