2020 GHS basbeall seniors (l-r) Jack Dolan, Luke Stephens, Jordan Murphy, Andrew DiSette, Matt Propp, Cam Pedemonti, and Shaw Pedemonti
The state of Connecticut just completed an entire high school sports season, the first in the state since the fall of 2019.
During the past 15+ agonizing months, the state saw the rise and fall of a pandemic which caused the cancellation of many sports seasons, including last spring’s high school baseball season.
A year later, the 2020 baseball seniors from Glastonbury High School reunited, along with previous GHS baseballers, for the 2nd annual Alumni Game at Riverfront Park on May 25.
“It’s exciting to see everyone. One of them came back with a beard,” GHS head baseball coach Dennis Accomando said with a smile, “The alumni game in general is special to me because this is what we’re all about. Hearing some of the older guys talking about how this is special to them and more so just watching these guys play and have fun.”
2020-graduates Shaw Pedemonti, Cam Pedemonti, Luke Stephens, Jack Dolan, Andrew DiSette, Matt Propp and Jordan Murphy returned from college for the special occasion and were honored before the game. The only senior unable to attend was Riley Harmon.
“When the opportunity arose, we took it right away. It’s awesome and great to see the guys one more time,” Shaw Pedemonti said of the reunion, “This whole squad hasn’t played together since our freshman year in high school because everybody was on different levels, so it’s nice to get back together for one more game and have a good time.”
Cam Pedemonti added, “The thing I missed the most during the COVID-era was not being able to play baseball.”
The Pedemonti brothers, who are identical twins, leaned on each other to get through the hardships of last spring. Both have continued their baseball journeys at Skidmore College in Saratoga, NY.
“Basically we’ve been attached at the hip since day one and it was definitely nice to have someone next to me going through the same thing. We were all going through the same thing, and we were able to talk about it,” recalled Cam Pedemonti, “[Shaw] was also someone that helped me stay motivated and keep working. We would go hit and field, do whatever we could just to stay healthy and active, knowing that we’d play in college and hopefully make some noise together.”
Last spring, the brothers continued to grind in the hopes that they would have a senior season. Eventually they started to play basketball to take their minds off the baseball.
Shaw Pedemonti added, “It’s been a really crazy experience but at the same time it’s good to have people in your corner who support you. That’s what got me through, just relying on other people and asking for help when I needed it. Obviously losing the senior season was tough but it gave us motivation to get back to work and have a good four years of college baseball.”
Stephens has also continued baseball at the next level, playing at St. Josephs College in Maine, “It definitely sucked when we found out that we wouldn’t have our senior season and senior night and all that fun stuff, but knowing that I would have another four years made it a little easier.”
Stephens, who has two younger brothers playing baseball at the high school, along with Dolan came back to attend a Guardians practice this spring, offering some advice.
“I told [the players] not to take anything for granted. You never know, whether it’s an injury or something unprecedented might happen,” said Dolan, who is currently studying business at Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, “Last year was tough. We didn’t know if the season was going to be on or not, so I just kept staying prepared.”
Their senior season never happened, but Dolan and a few other seniors were able to compete on the high school diamond one last time following graduation, playing for the town’s Legion team in the summer of 2020.
“I played in the summer, and we had somewhat of a senior night, but it wasn’t the same” said DiSette, “This is really cool to have everyone together, especially to play with some kids that graduated before us.”
DiSette, who is currently studying finance at Bryant University, reflected on the struggles of 2020, “We all kept working throughout the season. We were in the weight room, we tried to hit the field and play catch, and we stood together. That’s what kept us intact. We tried to keep the mindset that we were still going to play and have a season.”
Propp, who is a business major at UConn, also played last summer, “Legion was good and now to be back here is great. More than just playing baseball, just seeing everyone again was really good.”
He added, “I think it was hard when the season got cancelled, especially because all the guys here worked their butts off leading up to last season. It was definitely one of the toughest things I ever had to deal with it. I missed all the shenanigans in practice, and I feel like nothing is a lock anymore, so I definitely appreciate things more now.”
Murphy is currently studying business and economics with a minor in sport management at Salve Regina University in Newport R.I.
“Most of my work I did pre-COVID and then once COVID hit I kept thinking that there’d be a glimmer of hope that we could still play. Unfortunately we weren’t able to play but we just had to keep the right mindset. It was hard trying to get my head in the right place and understanding that I wouldn’t play again,” said Murphy, who was thankful for the alumni game opportunity, “I jumped on this, I couldn’t wait to play with my boys again.”
The alumni game featured blue skies, high-quality baseball from GHS baseball legends, and comic relief from the public address announcer.
Portions of the money raised during the alumni game went to the GHS 2021 Safe Grad program, a drug/alcohol-free celebration on graduation night featuring fun activities along with food, music, and other entertainment.
Early on during the alumni game, last year’s seniors shined as Shaw Pedemonti tripled, before Murphy sent him home with an RBI single in the top of the first.
Dolan then showcased his rocket right arm, pitching in the bottom of the first.
It was as if the band of brothers had not missed a beat.
Accomando recalled how his 2020-class tackled the challenges of last spring, “What impressed me the most is how they have handed it. They were never negative about it, and they turned it into the best positive that they could. I was impressed with their character and how they accepted it and moved on.”
The veteran coach now uses it as a teaching moment for his current teams at GHS.
“It‘s just about cherishing every moment that we have,” he said, “You have to cherish the moments you have out here because you never know it could be taken away.”
Shaw Pedemonti slaps a shot during the GHS baseball Alumni Game on May 25
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Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin