Ben and Matt Bonvicini. Two local stars take their talents to the University of Connecticut.
TORRINGTON: It was one of those moments that no one in the Bonvicini family will forget anytime soon.
During a recent showcase at the University of Connecticut, Matt Bonvicini got the entire families attention with one swing of the bat and in the process, got the attention of most of the UConn sports campus with that same swing.
“I got invited to the UConn Showcase,” Matt Bonvicini said. “I was batting and got a fastball right down the middle and hit the ball over the 370 foot sign.”
Older brother Ben chimed in at that point because thanks to instant communication, word spread quickly about a player that has just launched a bomb nearby at the baseball complex.
“I was there,” Ben Bonvicini said. “I was doing my physical for football and a guy came running into the training room where all the players were and said that some kid just hit a ball over the 370 sign. So I texted my mom (Tracey) and asked who hit the ball and she said that it was Matt.”
So over the next two fall seasons (Ben in 2017, Matt in 2018), look for the two Torrington natives if you are in Storrs; Ben Bonvicini on the gridiron for head coach Bob Diaco and the Huskies football program while Matt Bonvicini (who committed early after his junior year) looks to find a home on the diamond for Jim Penders defending AAC Tournament Champions.
Ben Bonvicini will be entering his sophomore year and it was an old bug that brought him back to the sport he so dominated on both sides of the line during his years with the Torrington Raiders football program.
“At the beginning of my second semester I realized that I really missed sports,” Ben Bonvicini said. “I just wanted to get back into it so I sent an email to the athletic department and they told me to come down to talk about it. After we talked, they told me that they had a spot for me if I wanted it. I had helped out at spring practice and it just reminded me how much I loved playing. I would be sitting in my room saying ‘I don’t want to be doing this, I want to be out there moving’.”
Understand, these are two of the finest young men to ever come out of the Torrington area even though one became a Raider, the other a Crusader.
The older Bonvicini was part of the change that occurred at THS when head coach Gaitan Rodriguez came to town and reinvented the culture on the gridiron.
“His main priority was that we were going to be good people,” Ben Bonvicini said. “Then we would be good football players. He wanted to make sure that his team was not made up of a bunch of knuckleheads. He wanted us to behave on and off the field. That was his number one priority.”
Ben Bonvicini looks forward to help clear holes for a back that he struggled to bring down, as did the rest of the Naugatuck Valley League during Arkeel Newsome’s reign as the best back in the state during his four years at Ansonia.
“He was so strong and fast,” Ben Bonvicini said. “You would think you had him wrapped up but then, oops, he was gone, thirty yards down the field. A lot of the times he would never even be touched.”
Being on the good side of Newsome blocking wise will certainly be a welcome treat for the former Raider who was an All-LCS Team member during his senior year.
After one final year with Holy Cross, Matt Bonvicini may have a unique opportunity to do something that not a lot of freshman get to do in their first year.
“Well, there is a chance that I could be starting,” Matt Bonvicini said. “For the next 12 or 13 months I’m just going to bust it, try and loose a few more pounds and get in better all-around shape. Maybe I’ll be able to earn that starting spot at first base.”
A lofty goal for certain but after showing UConn he can launch a baseball pretty well for a kid fresh out of high school, one should not count him out.
Division I football is a far cry from the competition at the Robert H Frost Complex in Torrington but the elder Bonvicini is well aware of the challenge that lies ahead.
“It’s so different,” Ben Bonvicini said. “You go from high school where everyone is pretty much at the same level and then you see what they do in college as each of these guys works their butts off for years.”
These are two young men who did it all during their high school careers. They were All-Stars, they were good students and they were involved in their communities.
The University of Connecticut is now the benefactor of the hard work that parents Fred and Tracey Bonvicini did with their two young men who like coach Rodriguez requested, became great young men first, pretty terrific players second.