Seniors grade out highly in return season to diamond

Henry Honychurch, Robert Dunkle, Matthew Gay, Luke Masiuk , Riley Simpson, Andrew Harvey, Johnny Bova, Jake Gruttadauria, Ray Leonzi and Bryan Kraus made up Trumbull's senior class.

Henry Honychurch, Robert Dunkle, Matthew Gay, Luke Masiuk , Riley Simpson, Andrew Harvey, Johnny Bova, Jake Gruttadauria, Ray Leonzi and Bryan Kraus made up Trumbull’s senior class.

Trumbull Athletics / Contributed photo

Trumbull baseball coach Phil Pacelli had no trouble grading his 2021 team.

“It was a privilege to be around such a talented and fun group of guys day in and day out. They had a lot to deal with COVID protocols and procedures. I’m proud of the way they handled them and didn’t let it get in the way of their work,” Pacelli said of what was a long 679 days between games. “They did all we asked of them. Our 13-4 regular season record was a true team effort with contributions from everyone.”

Bryan Kraus, Henry Honychurch, Johnny Bova, Matthew Gay, Jake Gruttadauria, Ray Leonzi, Andrew Harvey, Luke Masiuk, Rob Dunkle and Riley Simpson led the way as seniors.

Bryan Kraus: “Bryan was the leader of our pitching staff this season. He had an incredible season statistically with 91 strikeouts against only 15 walks in 52 innings with a 1.21 ERA. His two-hit shutout against eventual FCIAC champion Warde was one of the best pitching performances I have seen in a while. He is an intense competitor and was admired by the other coaches in the league. Bryan was voted first team All FCIAC and was selected to play in the Senior all-star game. He will continue his career at the University of Rhode Island.”

Henry Honychurch: “Henry was good teammate who came to practice every day with a positive attitude and was willing to do anything necessary to help the team win.”

Johnny Bova: Johnny entered the season with no varsity experience due to the lost season due to COVID. He quickly showed us what he could do at the varsity level with his stellar defense at second base and his outstanding approach at the plate. Johnny grinds out at bats and works the count very well by seeing a lot of pitches. He had many clutch hits for us with many coming with two strikes against him. His outstanding season earned him first team all FCIAC honors. Johnny will continue his career at Western New England.”

Matthew Gay: “When Matthew was on the mound he performed with great poise and did many behind the scenes things that helped the team win. Matt was also the recipient of the prestigious Eagle Award for the baseball team.”

Jake Gruttadauria: “Jake was another player who came into the season with no varsity experience. Jake played a solid shortstop for us while anchoring a spot at the top of our lineup and serving as one of our captains. He is an excellent contact hitter who can run and make things happen on the base paths. Jake is a true team player whose positive attitude is a great influence on his teammates. He was selected to the All FCIAC West team and chosen to play in the Senior all-star game. Jake’s athleticism will make him a versatile asset as he continues his career at Southern Connecticut State University.”

Ray Leonzi: “Ray saw some varsity time as a freshman and assumed a starting role as a sophomore. He is a natural athlete with the speed and agility needed to excel as a top defensive outfielder. As a center fielder there aren’t too many baseballs he cannot get to. At the plate, Ray is a selective, disciplined contact hitter who is not afraid to take a walk but knows when time is right to be aggressive. He will play at Fairfield University.”

Andrew Harvey: “Unfortunately due to injury Andrew didn’t throw one pitch for us this year. Losing a pitcher of this caliber for the season was a big blow for us after the way he pitched in 2019 as a sophomore. Despite knowing he wouldn’t toe the mound this season, he was still with team whenever possible following his surgery and in between physical therapy sessions. That speaks volumes as to what kind of teammate Andrew is.”

Luke Masiuk: “Northeastern is getting a hardworking student-athlete and I have no doubt that Luke will be an asset to its baseball program. Luke broke through to the varsity level as a freshman. He did more than hold his own as he became our starting right fielder and spent some time at DH. He has worked very hard to develop into an above average outfielder with outstanding arm strength.”

Ron Dunkle: “Rob is a first baseman who did everything we asked of him. He had clutch hits and played a solid defensive first base. He came to practice and worked hard every day. Gordon College is getting a player committed to excellence in and out of the classroom.”

Riley Simpson: “Riley is a big, strong athletic kid who brought great positivity to the team. His likable personality was a plus for us. He came up with some clutch hits and did whatever the coaching staff asked of him and made the most of his opportunities.”

Pacelli credited his upperclassmen for moving the team forward.

“We had a pair of classic wins over Warde and Greenwich to highlight the season.” He said. “I’m proud of the seniors for leading the younger players, many of whom gained significant varsity experience which will benefit them as we look forward to the 2022 season. Winning 15 of 21 games is a success in my book, especially with 20 of those games coming against FCIAC opponents.”

william.bloxsom@hearstmediact.com Twitter: @blox354