Every successful team needs solid pitching, good, timely hitting and a few garbage men.
Yes, garbage men.
Guys that bring their hard hat to work every game and will fight off pitch after pitch when down in the count, run out every ball they hit and eat up innings on the mound.
There are more nicknames for guys like these, but on this occasion, we’ll call them the Grit and Grind Players.
Below is the All-SCC Grit and Grind team.
This team includes a note from each coach on each player. The team will change as the season progresses as names will be added.
This team is not about stats, but doing the little things in every game and practice to help your team succeed.
- Branford, BJ Massey, Sr., 1B/C: He is always the first one to the field and the last one to leave. Massey will do whatever it takes to help the team from switching positions to laying down a bunt. A total team player.
- Branford, Alex King, Sr., OF: He is not afraid to take a HBP and will throw his body around in the outfield.
- Career, Josh Colon, So., SS: He works hard every practice, goes after every ground ball and treats every at bat like it’s his last.
- Foran, Sam Olsson, Sr., 3B: Olsson is a tremendous worker, leads by example and gets the most from his ability. He has been a four-year player asked to learn multiple positions and is starting at third base this year. Olsson has earned the respect of his teammates and coaches and was elected a captain of this year’s team. He is a true leader.
- Foran, Nick Tuozzola, Jr., C: A true throwback catcher, Tuozzola is as tough as they come behind the plate. He works well with the pitching staff and never takes a pitch off. Always the dirtiest player leaving the field, Tuozzola is willing to grind out at bats and take one for the team if need be.
- Foran, Chris June, Sr., 1B/DH: A four-year member of the team, June has been primarily a catcher but asked to move to first base this year. He has an incredible work ethic with a passion for the game and is willing to do whatever is asked of him to help the team.
- Guilford, Joe Nault, Sr., 1B: Nault brings a toughness to the team, runs out every ball, tries to take every extra base he can, and will sacrifice his body to make a play.
- Guilford, Mike Afeltra, Sr, CF: Lays out for every ball he can trying to take hits away from the opponents and change the game defensively.
- Hamden, Sam Kirschenbaum Sr., 2B: Kirschenbaum, who is headed to Union, is the first to get the field and the last to leave. He is baseball’s version of a gym rat, always wanting to do more to get better.
- Hamden, Luke D’Ostilio Jr., LF : D’Ostilio has the capability to play in both infield and outfield. He never complains and always competes no matter the score.
- Law, Dillon Rocha, Sr., C: He is a four-year starter that has never taken a rep off. Rocha also helps bring the young guys through and is constantly asking who needs help and what needs to be done. He has emerged as a great team leader.
- Sheehan, Pete Abate, Jr., 3B: Abate always gives 100 percent and makes more dives than anyone around.
- Sheehan, Paul Gozzo, C: He blocks, throws and has been a rock behind home plate.
- West Haven, Ricky Balzano, Sr., C: Balzano works extremely hard behind the plate, especially in practice taking extra throws or working on his blocking. Leads by example.
- Xavier, Chris Cardi, Sr., catcher: A leader and works every pitch.
- Xavier, Patrick Downey, Jr., outfielder: Plays with reckless abandon.
- Branford, Jay Vitale, Sr., CF/INF/P: He will play anywhere you ask and just wants to be in lineup. Vitale will sacrifice himself for the betterment of the team. A truly gritty player.
- Career, Jose Negron, Sr., P/IF: He plays every game hard and gives you seven innings every game. Will stay in the cage until one of the coach’s arms falls off.
- Career, Will Jackson Jr. OF/P: He hustles after every ball and takes his bullpen sessions very seriously. Jackson will hustle down the line and put the pressure on the defense.
- Guilford: Luke Nerney, Sr. P: He is intense on the mound and not afraid of the big moment. Nerney has also become a leader bringing his intensity to each drill in practice and every game.
- Law, Rich Dow, Sr., P/OF: He takes “team swings” instead of swinging from his heels all the time. The neat thing is that he takes pride in it. On the mound, Dow has always responded when the Lawmen needed it most. He spots his fastball and uses his off-speed pitches to get ground balls instead of going for the strikeout.
- West Haven: Nick Price Sr., P/1B: He always wants the ball whether rested or not. A throwback type player.