Baseball: BE second baseman signs letter of intent for St. Rose

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By MICHAEL LETENDRE

STAFF WRITER

BRISTOL—Bristol Eastern second baseman, senior Matt D’Amato, certainly has baseball in his blood.

The Lancers’ clever infielder has now made baseball his focus year round and after a busy summer playing ball and off a coaches’ recommendation, D’Amato has finally figured out his collegiate future.

At a small ceremony with family and friends from Bristol Eastern high school a week before Thanksgiving, D’Amato signed his National Letter of Intent to play baseball at The College of St. Rose.

“I’m very excited about going to St. Rose for baseball,” said D’Amato. “I’ve been working hard to play college baseball and it’s finally come true.”

The school, located just over two hours away from Bristol in Albany, New York, is a member of the Northeast-10 and the NCAA Division II program is an excellent place for the 5-foot-7 infielder to get his education and play a little baseball.

The Plumeri Sports Complex is a facility D’Amato has played at several times this summer and that made a lasting impact as well.

“I think it’s a perfect fit for him,” said Matt’s father Chris. “It actually worked out where we went up there a bunch of times [this past] summer for tournaments for the Connecticut Blue Jays. The coach [Wayne Jones] saw him play a couple times up there [and] connected with us. We did the whole back and forth thing, visited a couple times and out of the three [schools] we visited, St. Rose was what he was looking for in a school, the baseball program, and a coach.”

D’Amato, who can also moonlight at shortstop, has played baseball in just about every league in and around Bristol over the years but this summer, he took his talents to the Connecticut Blue Jays, an AAU program. And his Blue Jays coach got in contact Jones at St. Rose, and once D’Amato went up to Albany to check things out for himself, his collegiate decision was made.

“I’ve been playing on a summer baseball team and my coach is really good friends with [Jones]” at St. Rose said Matt D’Amato. “And he recommended me to that coach to play there. I’ve been there three times now, took a couple tours, saw the baseball field, met the coach and I realized [that St. Rose] was the top on my list.”

Of course, father Chris played collegiate baseball at Eastern Connecticut State University—a NCAA Division III program—and expect some big things from Matt as well on the diamond.

D’Amato played at Bristol Eastern over the last three spring campaigns under head coach Mike Giovinazzo. He’s tallied at least one hit every season for the Lancers and was once again the program’s starting second baseman over his junior season.

Through an injury-riddled campaign, ‘Motts’ tallied seven hits—two for extra bases—nine walks, was hit twice by a pitch, scored five runs and stole a couple bases.

With a return to health, the expectation this spring should look more like his sophomore season when he batted .291 over 79 at-bats. That year, he smacked out 23 hits, drilled four doubles, walked 13 times,  and collected 10 RBI—leading the squad with 25 runs.

He’s also played for the Bristol American Junior Legion baseball team, helping the squad to both Connecticut and Northeast Regional championships in 2018.

And after spending the summer with the CT Blue Jays, D’Amato has devoted all his time to baseball—forgoing all other sports—and plans to just play ball for the rest of the year.

“It’s a little bit different now,” said D’Amato of just playing baseball. “It’s kind of weird after school actually being able to go home now instead of staying after for [football or basketball] practice but I’m doing what I love now which is playing baseball 24/7. I’m happy about it.”