DeNomme--A force of nature
Catching is the perfect position for a baseball player like James DeNomme, who wants to be involved in every second of a game.
Admittedly lost playing the outfield as a sophomore at Trumbull High, DeNomme began catching every day and a force of nature was unleashed.
“My energy level is absolutely ridiculous,” DeNomme said while barely being contained by the conference room, let alone his seat at the table, after the senior announced he would be attending Hofstra University and playing baseball for the Pride and head coach John Russo. “All I have are positive thoughts.”
Why Division I Hofstra?
“I went to a summer program where they saw me, talked to Coach Russo, he liked me. It was that simple.”
That it how DeNomme chooses to embrace life.
“You got to let the bad stuff go,” said the All-State catcher. “You accept it, you learn from it, but you don’t let it get in your head.”
DeNomme was taught that lesson from a young age by his dad Bill.
“He’ll tell me if I struggled (in a game),” DeNomme said. “It’s best not to let a kid think it’s someone else’s fault. Because he’s been honest with me; I’m honest with you and everyone else. He made me.
“No matter what, he takes me to the batting cages and throws me buckets of balls. He is the main reason I get my work in. He has a live arm and really hums it in there.
“My mom (Jill) is a great baseball mom and is always so supportive. She thinks her son is the best — I know she won’t like me saying that — but it helps me to hear her say it.”
If DeNomme wasn’t the best player when practice began for his junior season with coach Phil Pacelli’s Eagles, he was certainly the most active.
As his profile from the 2012 Northeast Top Prospect Showcase following a workout at Muzzy Field in Bristol in August reads:
James DeNomme...is an athletic backstop with lots of energy behind plate, Athletic lower half, gets out of pops very quick. Good feet, quick transfer with arm strength. Showed feel for receiving during games, fields position on bunts. Big potential behind plate, Right handed bat, lots of effort at plate. Inside out swing with contact to both gaps. Line drive swing plane with quick hands. Aggressive with strength at the plate. Likes to play the game...
It is difficult not to go back to that statement — he likes to play the game.
“Since I was eleven years old all I wanted to do was play baseball,” DeNomme said. “I began playing travel ball with coach Joe Iannucci (Explosion Baseball) and grew up.
“He helped put me in my place, and believe me he’s like 6-4 and 250 pounds so I was ready to listen.
“Once I got to high school, I really began working on my mechanics and knew I had to start working with weights and getting bigger.”
Listed at 5-6 and 150 pounds as a sophomore, DeNomme has grown into a 6-0, 180-pound dynamo.
“Being in top shape helps, but baseball is still a mental game,” he said. “As a sophomore, when I struck out I went off.
“Now I know I can’t get mad, it brings the team down. It’s all about feeding off each other’s energy.”
DeNomme batted .446 with an on-base percentage of .471 with 15 RBIs, 29 hits and eight runs scored to help Trumbull go from the middle of the pack to FCIAC royalty in 2011.
Trumbull pitchers allowed only one run over 25 innings in winning three straight games to earn the school’s first FCIAC title since 2005.
The constant was DeNomme behind the plate.
“Once again, it’s all about positive thoughts,” DeNomme said. “In our semifinal with Staples, their guy hit the ball up the middle and Gerard (Spiegel) reached out it went off his hand and his thumb got all swollen.
“I’ve known Gerard for a long time, he’s my buddy, and I knew he would be fine. He pitched eight innings and didn’t give up a run (Trumbull won it 1-0 in 10 innings).
“In the final, we threw Colin Keyes, who is a great player, but still only a sophomore starting against the number one team (unbeaten Greenwich High).
“A couple batters in, I could see he was battling (the crowd at Harbor Yard), but he got a batter to swing at his pitch and got the out.
“I went to the mound and said, ‘See, all you have to do is throw the ball, you’re really dealing,”
He pitched four innings of one-run ball and Mike Yerina came in and closed it (the 7-1 victory) out.”
DeNomme plans on studying communications at Hofstra.
“I like the fact that the coaching staff is awesome, its a smaller school, and its communication program is number two in the nation,” he said.
“A communication degree goes off into all sorts of levels. And, as you can tell I love to talk.”