Jack Nolan – First County Bank Athlete of the Month

 

Bobby Valentine’s First County Bank Athlete of the Month for August is Jack Nolan. Jack is currently in eighth grade and playing for Mitch Hoffman and the Connecticut Baseball Club.

“Getting to coach Jack this year was an absolute pleasure. I have never come across a player with a better mindset than Jack. He was a leader on and off of the field and the definition of a true teammate. I am looking forward to years ahead with him!!” – Mitch Hoffman, CTBC Coach

You can find Jack all over the infield, from the pitcher’s mound to behind the dish to the hot corner. His summer was highlighted by playing tournaments with his team in Omaha, Nebraska and Hoover, Alabama, and winning the Perfect Game Northeast Tournament in Newark, New Jersey.

When not on the baseball diamond, Jack is at BVSA training either with the bat in his hands or working out in the gym.

“Jack and I have been working together for the past year and it has been an absolute pleasure. He is an incredibly talented baseball player with a serious power factor but what really makes him special is the person he is. He comes to every session in a great mood, with a positive attitude and enthusiasm to continue to improving. The combination of that attitude and his skill set is going to take him a very long way and I look forward to being a part of it! Congratulations Jack, well deserved!” Frank Ramppen, BVSA Managing Partner

In addition to baseball, Jack plays basketball in the fall and winter for High Rise and Darien Y Travel. During his downtime, chances are he’s either playing MLB The Show or watching some combination of the New York Yankees, Cleveland Browns, and Cleveland Cavaliers.

We here at BVSA want to congratulate Jack once more for earning this honor of First County Bank Athlete of the Month for August. We know Jack has big goals to play at the highest levels through high school and college, and we admire his dedication to the process of always looking to get even bigger and better. We can’t wait to see where Jack goes from here, congratulations again Jack!

Cassie Robotti – First County Bank Athlete of the Month

 

Bobby Valentine’s First County Bank Athlete of the Month for July is Cassie Robotti. Cassie started playing baseball at the age of five, and it quickly became her passion. She took that passion all the way to her freshman year of high school, before turning over to softball.

Cassie was dominating the field from the age of ten, switching back and forth between the pitcher’s mound and shortstop position. After winning districts that year as an all-star, she went on to be an all-star the following two years as well. The switch to softball came when the Stamford High softball coach approached her with the idea of becoming the starting shortstop on the varsity team. Hesitant at first, Cassie decided to make the move.

That winter, Cassie tried out and made the BVSA Lady Titans. Fast forward to her sophomore year, her first full softball season, she made Second Team All FCIAC.

A torn labrum in the fall of her junior year kept her off the field for a while as it required surgery and fifteen weeks of physical therapy. But Cassie bounced right back…

Despite playing only half the season, Cassie earned First Team All FCIAC and was named the only captain of the Stamford High Black Knights. Her current batting average is .419 with a .538 OBP.

Cassie is currently a rising senior and a Honors Student at Stamford High School, and looking to continue her playing career into college. The plan is to play while earning a degree in Physical Education and Health, and the dream is to coach softball after graduating college.

“Cassie exemplifies the meaning of being a great player and teammate. This kid has always been a die hard player since joining Lady Titans. Since bouncing back from her torn labrum injury Cassie has shown nothing but grit and determination. She never let her injury get in the way of her success. Cassie is an excellent hitter and a force to be reckoned with on the base paths. She is everything that a coach looks for in a player.” – Coach Beezer

Cassie’s favorite team is the New York Yankees, her favorite player being Aaron Judge. When she is not on the softball field or watching a Yankees game, she enjoys going to the beach, walking her puppies, and hanging out with friends.

We here at BVSA want to congratulate Cassie once more for earning this honor of First County Bank Athlete of the Month for July. The admiration we have for both the desire to play baseball as long as she could, combined with the resiliency to fight back from injury is outstanding. We look forward to continuing to see Cassie around BVSA and can’t wait what she does at the next level!

Jackson Koeppl – First County Bank Athlete of the Month

Bobby Valentine’s First County Bank Athlete of the Month for June is nine year old Jackson Koeppl. Jackson first started playing baseball three years ago when he was six years old, and was almost immediately thrown a curveball. The COVID-19 pandemic put a pause on his spring 2020 New Canaan rec baseball season, but that did not stop him from continuing to practice and progress.

Jackson played constantly with his Dad in the backyard, doing anything from swinging a bat to long tossing. He was able to restart rec ball in the fall before joining 8U New Canaan Travel Baseball in spring 2021. As his commitment to baseball grew, Jackson wanted to go a step further and began training with BVSA this past January. His last six months can be summed up by his latest Spring Championship Game for his 9U New Canaan team.

Jackson came in to pitch in the 2nd inning with his team already down 4-0 to Danbury on their home field. Ten strikeouts later, he and his teammates were putting medals around their necks celebrating a 10-4 victory. Jackson pitched five innings and only allowed one baserunner, a sixth inning single. His final line read…

5 IP, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 H, 10 Ks, W

“His stuff is electric. He is in complete control mentally when he takes the mound, regardless of the results. He can be dominant or he can be hit hard, his body language and his mindset does not change at all. I have never seen someone so young and understand this game so well.” – Joe Wanderlingh, BVSA Instructor and New Canaan Coach

Not only does he help himself with his demeanor, but he wears off on the rest of the team. The excitement and joy on his face when he plays is truly contagious. He loves the game, his teammates, and helping his team any way he can.

Jackson is a soon to be fifth grader that really excels in the classroom. When he is not playing baseball, he is definitely playing some other sport like flag football, basketball, and skiing.

As if that wasn’t enough for him, he continues to challenge himself and take on new things like archery, ninja warrior obstacle courses, and chess. He loves rooting for a wide variety of different teams like the New York Yankees, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, and Florida Gators.

We here at BVSA want to congratulate Jackson once more for earning this honor of First County Bank Athlete of the Month for June. His progress in such a short amount of time is truly inspiring, and it is clear that this is just the beginning for Jackson. We are so excited to continue watching him grow and lead by example for everyone that takes the field with him!

Kevin Bruggeman – First County Bank Athlete of the Month

Bobby Valentine’s First County Bank Athlete of the Month for May is Hofstra University’s starting catcher, Kevin Bruggeman.

“The kid has always been obsessed with putting in the work. The sacrifices and growth we’ve seen him make over the years combined with his instincts, natural talent and genuine love for the game are infectious. He’s constantly raising the bar for everyone around him. It’s no surprise that he just put himself in the NCAA and Hofstra baseball record books. Can’t wait to see what he does next!” – Anthony Conte, BVSA Director

What Anthony is referring to is the latest NCAA D1 Regional round of the 2022 College Baseball World Series. Hofstra made its way into the postseason for the first time ever after winning the 2022 CAA Championship, and faced off against the tenth nationally ranked team in the country, the University of North Carolina.

Bruggeman batted third and came up to hit in the top of the first with two outs and nobody on base. He took two close pitches just off the plate to put himself in a favorable 2-0 count. The next pitch made Hofstra history. Bruggeman’s home run was the first hit, run, RBI, and home run in Hofstra postseason history.

“It’s UNC, they weren’t going to do anything fancy 2-0, so I was just looking for a fastball.” – Bruggeman

Leading up to this moment, Bruggeman’s hard work and dedication were already being recognized. He was named to the All-American D1 Baseball Strength & Conditioning team. On the season, he hit .330 in conference play with 4 HR and 21 RBI, and finished tied for second on the team in hits (33).

Take it back a step further, Bruggeman was named captain during his junior and senior years at Trumbull High School. He was the first junior captain in Trumbull High School history!

Bruggeman’s ties to BVSA go back to the days of Fury, where he played since 2013. Beyond that, his mother Danielle Simoneau has been a softball coach at BVSA since its inception in the fall of 2006.

“Kevin exemplifies everything you want a player to be. He plays with passion, energy and a level above most around him. He plays with grit and determination and is looked up to by his teammates and opponents. He works at his craft like no other and it shows on the field. His efforts and production helped lead our team to multiple tournament championships and tremendous experiences for all of us. It seemed like whenever we needed a big hit or a big play, Kev delivered. He has a great appreciation for the game and although an intense competitor, there’s always a smile and a joy for the game.” – Frank Ramppen, BVSA Managing Partner

We here at BVSA want to congratulate Kevin once more on earning this honor of First County Bank Athlete of the Month for May. His drive and commitment to mastering his craft have put him in the Hofstra record books, and the best part of that is this is only the beginning… We cannot wait to see what he does next!

Cooper Gendason – First County Bank Athlete of the Month

Bobby Valentine’s First County Bank Athlete of the Month for April is Cooper Gendason. Cooper is finishing up 7th grade at New Canaan Country School, where he has attended since he was in kindergarten. He has competed in both baseball and soccer since he was four years old, and combine that with having three siblings, safe to say Cooper is used to competition.

“Cooper gets it. He wants to train regardless of the results in his games. He has been doing nothing but hitting home runs these last few weeks, and he is still here at BVSA working on his swing constantly. He is an incredible athlete, and an amazing role model for his little brother, Peyton. He is an absolute joy to have around the facility, and so exciting to watch grow into the ballplayer and leader he is turning into.” – Joe Wanderlingh, Baseball Instructor

Baseball started for Cooper playing through Stamford North Little League, playing for both house teams and all-star teams. He currently is blasting home runs for the New Canaan 12U travel team, and he is really looking forward to upcoming summer trips to Aberdeen, Maryland and Cooperstown, New York. He’s going to be looking to make that place Cooper’s town (sorry, too good not to use).

When he isn’t playing baseball, Cooper is on the soccer field. It started with the New Canaan travel team, and then he joined the Chelsea Piers Shoreline premier team two years ago. He mostly plays midfield.

Cooper roots for New York for the most part, being a fan of the first place New York Yankees and the playoff bound New York Rangers. The one exception is in the NFL, where he is the biggest Denver Broncos fan you will ever meet. As if the Yankees and Rangers weren’t enough excitement for him, he gets to look forward to the Russell Wilson era beginning in a few months.

We here at BVSA want to congratulate Cooper once more on earning this honor of First County Bank Athlete of the Month for April. His work ethic and commitment to the game are amazing to see, and we are so excited to watch him continue to grow both on and off the field!

Kylie O’Melia – First County Bank Athlete of the Month

Bobby Valentine’s First County Bank Athlete of the Month for March is ten-year-old Kylie O’Melia. Kylie is currently in 4th grade at Strawberry Hill School in Stamford, and entering just her second season of playing softball. Despite it being her first full year of playing, she was able to make the Stamford Stars 10u travel softball team. How was she able to do this??…

“She is the most dedicated 4th grader we have in the facility. She is working hard to be the best she can be. She pushes herself to do better with each lesson. When she is not training with me, she is working with her dad here twice a week. The best three words to describe her are driven, dedicated and determined!” – Danielle Simoneau, Softball Instructor

In addition to her dedication, she is extremely versatile. She can be found all over the infield, from pitcher, to both corners, or even behind the dish. She always has a positive attitude, a smile on her face, and when you hear someone screaming from the dugout cheering on her teammates, that is Kylie you hear.

On the rare occasions when she is not playing softball, you can find her playing basketball or doing boxing training. You read that right, do not mess with Kylie! She also did gymnastics for years when she was younger, so it has always been nonstop sports for Kylie.

Kylie is all for new challenges, whether on the field or in the classroom. Her favorite subjects are math and science, and wants to be a scientist when she is older. That is of course after her collegiate career playing softball for the UCLA Bruins.

We here at BVSA want to congratulate Kylie once more on earning this honor of First County Bank Athlete of the Month for March. Her dedication and commitment to so many activities at such a young age is absolutely remarkable, and we are so excited to watch her continue to grow both on and off the field!

Jack Conway – First County Bank Athlete of the Month

BVSA Athlete of the Month February 2022 - Jack Conway

Bobby Valentine’s First County Bank Athlete of the Month for February is eighteen-year-old, Jack Conway. Baseball is not just a game for Jack, it is a lifestyle. You would have to go back 16 years (when BVSA first opened their doors) to where Jack first fell in love with the sport. All the way back from the age of two, Jack was hooked.

Jack plays the game with great passion and tenacity, while at the same time, spending hours and hours analyzing statistics, history, and current and former players alike. You could call Jack a utility player, but only in the greatest form of the phrase. He is a utility player in the sense that he plays numerous positions, and plays them extremely well. He is the definition of versatile. He wants to learn about every position, and thrives on getting better and better at each and every one.

When Jack was twelve years old, he realized he had a great opportunity to play this game at a high level. Since then, it’s been full steam ahead, working relentlessly to accomplish his goals. Coach Anthony Conte had this to say; “Jack and I had our first session on June 6, 2014 and WOW has it been such a fun journey watching him grow into the young man he’s become! Jack is one of those athletes that comes in, listens, applies, and works his tail off to achieve his goals. He’s one of the few local athletes I know who wakes up before school to hit the gym so he can dominate the rest of the day! Fun to work with someone who knows how to work, compete and still be one of the kindest people in the room.”

Not only is Jack a work horse on the field and in the cages, but he also is a tremendous student at Darien High School, where he will finish this past semester with a 4.0 GPA. He is still considering all of his college opportunities, but the plan is to major in Business. Wherever he ends up, he is confident that baseball will be in his future plans.

As a mentor and a role model to so many kids in his community, from baseball to church and town organizations, Jack continues to share his knowledge of the game, and the lessons he has learned throughout this journey. Baseball is so much more than just a game or a sport to Jack, it is something that has helped mold him into the outstanding young man he is today.

We here at BVSA want to congratulate Jack once more on earning this honor of First County Bank Athlete of the Month for February. His dedication and commitment to the sport speaks volumes, but the life lessons and the impact he is able to make on so many kids is truly remarkable, and why we all choose to be a part of this great game. We are beyond excited to see where Jack goes from here!

Connor King – First County Bank Athlete of the Month

“Connor is one of the most exuberant and fun kids to be around in any setting at BVSA. From baseball to our All Sports Clinic, nobody is ready to learn while at the same time having a blast doing so more so than Connor. To top it all off, he has such an unique personality that sets him apart from his peers. He really is a pleasure to coach and be around, and there is definitely a bright future ahead!”
Justin Virgulak, BVSA Facility Director

 

Bobby Valentine’s First County Bank Athlete of the Month for January is nine-year-old Connor King. Connor is simply everywhere, constantly on the move. He started his 2021 playing for the BVSA Fury 9u team, and then continued into the summer with Darien Little League. He played for the Darien AA summer travel team in the Friendship League where he competed against teams throughout Fairfield County. Heading into 2022, he’ll be playing for the Darien Blue Hawks 9U-A team and he could not be more excited.

Connor throws lefty and hits both righty and lefty. You read that correctly. He is probably the first switch hitter in the history of little league. The craziest part about it is that when you watch him hit from the right side and then the left side, you would not be able to tell which side is his natural side. He is THAT good and THAT comfortable from both sides of the plate. He is definitely a must see at BVSA. When we asked him about how he got into switch hitting, he said one day he just simply mixed up his left and his right and accidentally started hitting the other way. If only it were that easy for the rest of us.

 

“Connor brings positive energy to every practice and game, and always puts in the maximum effort to improve. He has taken huge strides in all aspects of the game, especially with his must see switch-hitting ability.” 
Matt Diurno, Coach/Instructor

 

When Connor is not playing baseball, you can find him on the ice. He plays for the Connecticut Junior Rangers 2012 Elite team, competing against the best teams in the country all year round. If not on the ice, he is on the lacrosse field playing for 2Way and the Greenwich Warriors.

Across all three sports, Connor is known for his work ethic, his coachability, and his overall positive attitude. He prides himself on being a good teammate and a good playmaker, and his selflessness is remarkable to say the least, especially at such a young age.

 

“Connor gets it in a way I’ve never seen most high school players understand. What I mean by “it” is a couple of different things. He comes into BVSA wanting to improve in all aspects of the game, both as a player and as a teammate. He demonstrates to other nine year olds, as well as to his little brother, the near impossible balance of hard work, fun, and some messing around with friends and coaches, and then how to put all three together. He carries himself with such a high level of respect, kindness, and genuine happiness. He is always just smiling and happy to be a part of a game he so clearly loves.” 
Joe Wanderlingh, Instructor 

 

Connor’s favorite teams include the New York Yankees and the New York Rangers, and he particularly enjoys watching Aaron Judge take the field and Adam Fox on the ice. In the classroom, he loves reading and math. He somehow finds the time for hobbies on top of the three sports, and those hobbies include reading, fishing, and golf. When he grows up, his dream is to become a three sport professional athlete. If anyone can accomplish that, it is definitely Connor. 

We here at BVSA want to congratulate Connor once more on earning this honor of First County Bank Athlete of the Month for January. Both the commitment and the love for so many things at such a young age is impressive and flat out remarkable to say the least. Combine that with the respect and care Connor has for everyone, from his coaches, to teammates, to teachers, to his little brother, Chase, and it is safe to say we are beyond excited to watch Connor grow both on and off the field.  

Ava Biasotti – First County Bank Athlete of the Month

baseball-clinic-camp

"Ava is a very special athlete. She’s extremely hard working and competitive. Her want to get better is nearly unmatched by any of our other athletes, but what really sets Ava apart from the crowd is her attention to detail. She always makes sure her form is perfect and all the little things are right in her movement and exercises. You combine that with her work ethic and attention to detail, and you have one special athlete. I believe those attributes really shine through not only in the weight room but also on the field. I really can’t say enough great things about Ava. She will be a force to mess with as she begins her career at the collegiate level."

Our First County Bank Athlete of the Month for November is Ava Biasotti from New Canaan. Ava, now seventeen years old, has been consistently adding to her extremely impressive resume since the age of five. From a very early age, she was representing her town in multiple all star tournaments. It was around the age of ten when she really started to fall in love with softball, particularly as she continued to develop as a pitcher.

Ava began her travel softball career at the age of twelve, where she solidified her primary position as a pitcher. However, when she was not pitching, you could find her over at the hot corner playing third base. She quickly became known for both her pitching velocity and also her movement on her pitches. Her control followed very shortly after that. By the time she was sixteen, she was regularly racking up the strikeouts and had already enjoyed multiple tournament championships with her fellow CT Angels.

The local competition was fun and all, but Ava really wanted to challenge herself. She really wanted to go up against the very best. She earned herself a spot on a national team with the Jersey Intensity organization, giving her that exact opportunity to go face some of the best competition in the country.

She was able to pitch in high profile tournaments including the Texas Bombers Showcase, IDT in Colorado, and PGF Nationals in California, where the norm was facing Power 5 Conference commits. She has continued on with the organization with their 18u team, and is looking forward to attending these events again in 2022.

In addition to travel softball, Ava absolutely loves representing New Canaan High School by taking the field with the same girls she first started playing softball with. She has been starting on the mound since her freshman year. She has received honorable mention in All-FCIAC both her freshman and junior year, as well as being selected to the Junior Select L/LL game.

Ava is a senior, she is an honors student, and she is a member of the National Honors Society. She is enrolled in and enjoying multiple AP and Honors classes across her curriculum, particularly really taking a liking to science and her Mandarin language classes. She plans to pursue Astrophysics and Aerospace Engineering in college. She recently accepted an offer to continue her academic and softball career for the Bowdoin Polar Bears.

You can most often find Ava working on her spin and her swing, but especially in the winter you can find her snowboarding down the slopes in Southern Vermont. If not there, try the New Canaan Softball League, where she spends a significant amount of time volunteering. She helps out with both team practices and pitching clinics. Bottom line, Ava cannot get enough softball, as she loves giving back and helping those coming up the ranks behind her, in addition to playing. She genuinely loves surrounding herself with both coaches and players who are just as committed to the game as she is.

We here at BVSA want to congratulate Ava once more on earning this honor of First County Bank Athlete of the Month! The hours of hard work and success both on and off the field do not go unnoticed. We are excited to see what the future has in store for you! Congratulations!

Maddox Hoffman – First County Bank Athlete of the Month

“I have watched Maddox play for a few years now and have had the good fortune to work with him over the last several months. Hoffman is an outstanding athlete who can do everything. His work ethic is unmatched and his desire to be his best is so evident. His knowledge of the game of baseball and of his own skill set is very impressive. More importantly he is one the finest young men I have ever met. Always looking to lend a hand, courteous and thoughtful of others around him and so mature for his age. I look forward to working with him and watching his career evolve, it has the potential to be very special!!! Congrats Maddox, well deserved!”

Frank Ramppen, Private Instructor Tweet

BV’s First County Bank Athlete of the Month for October is thirteen year old Maddox Hoffman from Saxe Middle School. Maddox, also known around friends, family, and teammates as “M”, is the definition of a multi-sport athlete. He prides himself on being exactly that as he steps foot on the baseball diamond, the football field, and the basketball court throughout the calendar year. His “down time” from all of that comes on weekends during the winter months where he laces up the skates and hits the ice for some ice hockey. Ask him which sport is his favorite and he will probably go with whichever one he just finished playing. Safe to say, he loves it all.

Baseball has been particularly kind to Hoffman recently. He was fortunate to be a part of a World Series team this summer, in which he pitched and played shortstop for the New Canaan Rams. He finished his 2021 spring and summer campaign with a remarkable .433 batting average in 134 at bats. Out of those at bats, he led the team in doubles with fourteen. His numbers certainly speak for themselves but his leadership on the field is what makes him stand out from the rest. 

Just in case Hoffman’s baseball resume wasn’t impressive enough, he is also the captain of his seventh grade football team. What position does he play? Quarterback, of course. His team is headed to the championship game, with him leading the charge with his 1,000+ yard, 12 touchdown season. Did I mention he plays linebacker too? At this point is anyone even a little bit surprised? Hoffman was voted on by his teammates to be captain this season, and that honor and accomplishment is extremely well deserved. 

“He is probably the best quarterback in our grade, and it’s crazy how he is always working so hard to be even better. He does a great job at being a leader.” – Henry Reagan, Football Teammate

Academics are just as important as what athletes do on the field, and Hoffman is no exception to that. He not only maintains straight A’s in the classroom, he takes it a step further. He has recently started community service initiatives in order to give back as he is very thankful for everything he has. On top of that, he also does baseball lessons for his two younger brothers, Cole and Brody, as well as with some of their friends too. Last but not least, he is in the process of launching his own baseball card business. 

Success is something Hoffman is very familiar with so far in his young life. Success comes with respect for the game, leadership on and off the field, and becoming a role model for those that come after him. The leadership comes with a ton of responsibility and accountability. Hoffman has become that role model for his two younger brothers, giving them some big shoes to walk into as they continue to grow and get older as well. 

“Maddox is one of the most consistent, diligent, and competitive athletes we have working in the building. At such a young age to be so conscious of the process it takes to become better and then dedicate the time to it is not just a given. This work ethic extends into the classroom and his side hustles as well and it is amazing to see, but more so be a small part of.” – Justin Virgulak, Assistant Instructor 

We here at BVSA want to congratulate Hoffman once more on earning this honor of First County Bank Athlete of the Month for October! The hours of hard work and success on the field do not go unnoticed, and the leadership and the way Hoffman carries himself on and off the field are second to none. We are so excited to see what the future has in store because it is only going to get better from here!