First County Bank Athlete of the Month: Anthony Bozza Shines On and Off the Baseball Field

Anthony Bozza - December Athlete of the Month

In the world of youth sports, few stories resonate as deeply as those that exemplify dedication, talent, and a commitment to community. This December, First County Bank Athlete of the Month, Anthony Bozza, a long-time trainee of Abate Training, encapsulates all these qualities and more.

Anthony’s journey is not just one of personal achievement but also of profound community impact. His non-profit initiative, Pitch In For Puerto Rico, showcases his drive to make a difference through the sport that defines him. The initiative, born out of Anthony’s love for baseball and his deep-rooted connection to Puerto Rico, has been pivotal in refurbishing baseball and softball fields ravaged by natural disasters, providing young players in hard-hit communities a chance to pursue their dreams.

His remarkable efforts have not gone unnoticed. At a sold-out event with 125 attendees, Anthony and his supporters raised $110,000, a testament to the community’s belief in his vision and his ability to inspire action. The funds are earmarked for vital projects, including the revitalization of a baseball field in Adjuntas and offering young talents four-year scholarships to the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy and High School, a breeding ground for the sport’s future stars.

Anthony Bozza - December Athlete of the Month
Anthony Bozza – December Athlete of the Month

Anthony’s prowess extends beyond the realm of philanthropy. His baseball journey, under the diligent guidance of Abate Training, speaks volumes of his commitment to the game. Anthony’s dedication to improving his craft is evident in his own words. In an interview, he shared his driving force, “the journey to try and be the best at what you do can be rewarding.” This mindset is a cornerstone of his success and a reflection of the high-caliber training at Abate Training, where reducing mistakes and enhancing skills are at the forefront of their training philosophy.

The most valuable lesson Anthony has learned through baseball is that “hard work is key.” It’s a principle he applies not only in his athletic pursuits but also in his academic responsibilities and personal endeavors. His ability to balance his athletic commitments with other responsibilities is a trait that makes him a role model for young athletes at BVSA.

“I’m extremely proud of Anthony. What he’s set out to achieve as a young adult and his commitment to the process have been evident not only on the field but also off it. In a world where it can sometimes feel like everyone is out for themselves, Anthony has demonstrated the heart and passion to be there for others. One of the greatest glories we can derive from this life is the ability to help others. It seems like Anthony already understands this and is extending his hands to help at such a young age. I am extremely proud of Anthony and all he has accomplished!” – Mike Abate, Abate Training

As Anthony’s story unfolds, it’s clear that his impact transcends the baseball diamond. His journey is a narrative of passion, resilience, and the relentless pursuit of excellence. It’s about hitting home runs not only in games but in the hearts of those he touches through his actions.

Bobby Valentine’s Sports Academy and Abate Training are proud to recognize Anthony Bozza as the First County Bank Athlete of the Month for January. His story is a beacon of inspiration, reminding us that sports are not just about competition but also about community, character, and the enduring spirit of giving back.

Join us in celebrating Anthony, a shining example of how sports can be a powerful catalyst for positive change. Here’s to many more home runs, not just on the field, but in every endeavor he chooses to undertake.

Brianna Cardona – First County Bank November Athlete of the Month

Brianna Cardona - November Athlete of the Month

BVSA proudly announces Brianna Cardona as the recipient of the First County Bank Athlete of the Month for November. Her commitment and passion for softball, bolstered by the unwavering support from BVSA, have shaped her into an exemplary athlete. Brianna’s insights, coupled with accolades from her coaches, paint a vivid picture of her impactful journey in softball.

A Significant Milestone

A noteworthy highlight of Brianna’s journey this November is her commitment and acceptance to Western New England College, where she will continue both her academic and softball career. This significant step is a testament to her hard work and dedication, marking a new chapter in her journey as a student-athlete.

Motivation and Growth at BVSA

Brianna draws her motivation from the unwavering belief her family and friends have in her. Over her six-year journey with the Titans, she has valued the around-the-clock access to practice and workout facilities and the welcoming atmosphere at BVSA.

Lessons, Aspirations, and Balance

Softball has taught Brianna the critical importance of mental strength. She acknowledges the game’s mental challenges and is grateful for the friendships and expert coaching she has received. Brianna aims to cherish her college experience, continuing her passion for softball and creating lasting memories.

Balancing athletics with other responsibilities has honed her time management skills, a challenging yet rewarding endeavor. To younger athletes at BVSA, she advises leveraging the supportive community and not hesitating to seek help.

Coaches’ Endorsements

Danielle Simoneau commends Brianna’s infectious energy: “Bri is the one player on the field that you hear no matter the score. She is always pumping up her teammates and yelling words of encouragement. Her presence push her teammates.”

Ashley Simoneau echoes this sentiment: “Bri is a blast to coach. She is a hard worker and an even better teammate. A strong girl who can play anywhere in the field and hit the ball a mile. It’s been such a pleasure to have her in our organization and we’re so excited to watch her continue her journey at the collegiate level.”

Inspiring the BVSA Community

Brianna Cardona’s recognition as the First County Bank Athlete of the Month is not just a celebration of her talents and spirit but also a nod to her bright future at Western New England College. Her journey exemplifies how dedication, support, and a nurturing environment can lead to remarkable achievements in sports and life. Congratulations, Brianna, on this well-deserved honor and your exciting new venture in academics and softball. Your story stands as a beacon of motivation for all athletes at BVSA and beyond.

Aurora Levesque – First County Bank October Athlete of the Month

Aurora Levesque - October Athlete of the Month

Aurora Levesque, a standout talent in softball for the Lady Titans and St. Luke’s Varsity Softball, has been rightfully named the First County Bank Athlete of the Month for October by BVSA. Her journey in sports is a testament not just to her exceptional skills on the field but also to her resilience and determination to excel.

Reflecting on her experiences, Aurora shares a valuable lesson from softball, “You are going to fail more times than you are going to succeed, and that is how you get better as an athlete.” This mindset highlights the importance of learning from challenges, a principle that has been central to her success.

Aurora’s future aspirations are as ambitious as her current achievements. She aims to continue her softball career at the college level and hopes to inspire future generations through coaching. Her dedication to the sport extends beyond personal success, emphasizing her commitment to the growth and development of softball.

To younger athletes at BVSA, Aurora offers profound advice: “Give everything they do their all, whether that is in athletics or academics because the hard work will pay off.” She underscores the joy and fulfillment that come from dedication to sports and academics.

Her coach, Elizabeth “Beezer” Joseph, praises Aurora as “the definition of a workhorse,” highlighting her consistent dedication and recent significant improvements. Beezer notes Aurora’s standout performance, especially her impressive showing at the East Hartford tournament where she hit .556, going 5 for 9 with 2 singles and 3 triples. Furthermore, Aurora finished the fall season with a remarkable .583 batting average, going 7 for 12.

Beezer also speaks highly of Aurora’s team spirit, citing her competitive nature and the respect she garners from teammates. Aurora’s consistent support and unique cheering style make her a valued team member.

Being recognized as the First County Bank Athlete of the Month is a fitting accolade for Aurora Levesque, a reflection of her hard work, dedication, and team spirit. Her achievements, underscored by impressive stats and a strong character, serve as an inspiration to young athletes. Aurora’s journey shows that with passion and perseverance, success in both sports and life is within reach.

Noel Vargas – First County Bank September Athlete of the Month

Noel Vargas
Noel Vargas

Along with our sponsor, First County Bank, we take pride in recognizing exceptional young athletes in our community. This September, we are thrilled to shine the spotlight on Noel Vargas. Noel, a junior at Stamford High School and a standout player for U18 JA Elite Football Club. He has been selected as our September Athlete of the Month. His remarkable achievements on the field are a testament to his dedication, talent, and unwavering passion for the beautiful game.

A Rising Star on the Field:

Noel Vargas has quickly become a top player in the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference (FCIAC). As a junior at Stamford High School, he has been making waves with his exceptional performance. Noel’s statistics for the month of September are nothing short of impressive. In 8 games played, he scored an astonishing 8 goals and provided 1 assist. His consistency and ability to find the back of the net were on full display with 1 hat trick and 2 braces during the month.

An Exciting Local Talent:

Noel’s journey as a soccer player is not just about statistics; it’s about his passion and dedication to the sport. He brings an electrifying energy to every match, captivating fans and teammates alike with his skill and determination on the pitch. His impact on Stamford High School’s soccer team is undeniable, and his contributions are a source of inspiration for aspiring young athletes in our community.

Jhonny Arteaga, Head of JA Elite Football Club, has nothing but praise for this talented player. He says, “Noel is an exciting local player. We are thrilled to have him at JA Elite Football Club, and happy to see him doing well with SHS. I’m certain that he will continue to do great things with both his school team and our club team.”

Noel’s dedication to both his school and club teams is a testament to his commitment to honing his skills and constantly pushing himself to excel. His work ethic, sportsmanship, and love for the game are qualities that make him not just a standout athlete but also a role model for his peers.

A Bright Future Ahead:

As we celebrate Noel Vargas as our September Athlete of the Month, we are excited to see where his journey in soccer will take him. With his remarkable talent, determination, and the support of his coaches, teammates, and community, we have no doubt that Noel has a bright future ahead.

Noel, keep chasing your dreams and inspiring those around you. Your achievements on and off the field make us proud to celebrate you as First County Bank’s September Athlete of the Month. We here at Bobby Valentine’s Sports Academy, eagerly await the incredible feats you’ll accomplish in the days, months, and years to come.

Lady Titans – First County Bank Athletes of the Month

Athlete of the Month - August 2023
Athlete of the Month - August 2023

At Bobby Valentine’s Sports Academy, we believe in celebrating the achievements and growth of our young athletes. This August, we have something truly special to share with you as we honor not one, but five outstanding athletes who have graduated from high school and are taking the next big step in their academic and athletic journeys. These remarkable individuals have been a part of the Lady Titan’s program, and their dedication and passion have shone brightly throughout their time with us. Without further ado, let’s meet our August, First County Bank, Athletes of the Month.

Gia Scortino:

Gia Scortino has been a vital part of the Lady Titan’s program since she joined us at 14u. Over the course of four years, Gia showcased her skills on the field, primarily as a first and third baseman. Her journey reached a significant milestone when she graduated from Norwalk High School. Gia’s leadership qualities were recognized when she was named softball captain during her senior year. She’s not only a fantastic player but also the “mom” of the team, offering guidance and support to her teammates. Gia is now furthering her education at Keene State College in New Hampshire, where we have no doubt she will continue to shine.

Analise Trani:

Another Lady Titan’s stalwart, Analise Trani, joined the program at 14u and played as a third baseman for four years. Analise graduated from Greens Farms Academy and has made the exciting decision to continue her athletic and academic journey at Western New England in Springfield, MA, where she’ll be playing Field Hockey. Her two-year stint as a softball captain at GFA showcased her leadership skills. Analise is known for her team spirit and creative team nicknames like “St. Joes” and “Stormy.” Her pre-inning tradition of gathering the team for a game of rock, paper, scissors is a testament to her ability to bring positivity and camaraderie to the field.

Christina Zinicola:

Christina Zinicola, who joined the Lady Titan’s program at 14u, spent four years primarily playing second or shortstop. After graduating from Stamford High School, Christina has taken the next step in her academic journey at Manhattan College. Her senior year at Stamford High saw her being named softball captain, reflecting her leadership on and off the field. Christina is known for her fearless playstyle, never shying away from taking the extra base or making a spectacular diving play. We can’t wait to welcome her back next summer.

Jenna Soltis, aka “Jenny from the Block”:

Jenna Soltis, affectionately known as “Jenny from the Block,” joined the Lady Titan’s program at 18u and played as the starting centerfielder for two years. Graduating from Wilton High School, Jenna has decided to further her education at Ohio State. Much like her namesake, Jenna was a speed demon on the field, always taking the extra base and being an aggressive base runner. Her leadership qualities were recognized when she was named softball captain at Wilton High during her senior year.

Cassie Robotti:

Last but certainly not least, we have Cassie Robotti. Cassie started her journey with the Lady Titans at 14u, initially playing baseball before transitioning to softball. As a middle infielder, primarily at shortstop, Cassie displayed exceptional skills and dedication. Currently pursuing her education at Penn State, Cassie graduated from Stamford High, where she served as a softball captain for two years.

We are immensely proud of each of these talented athletes and their achievements both on and off the field. They exemplify the values of teamwork, dedication, and leadership that we hold dear at BVSA. While they may be moving on to new adventures, they will forever be a part of the BVSA family. Congratulations to Gia, Analise, Christina, Jenna, and Cassie, our First County Bank, August Athletes of the Month! We can’t wait to see the incredible feats you’ll achieve in the future, and we look forward to welcoming you back whenever you’re in town. Good luck, and keep reaching for the stars! 🌟🎓🥎

Stay tuned for more inspiring stories from BVSA, where we celebrate the excellence of our young athletes month after month.

Ava Quinlan – First County Bank Athlete of the Month

Ava Quinlan - July Athlete of the Month

“At BVSA, Coach Matt and I do a ton of birthday parties… probably close to one hundred parties per year. They all vary in sports played, competitiveness between the kids, and time spent on each of a minimum of 2-3 sports.

Ava had her birthday party here last year and her and her teammates played ninety minutes of a legit softball game. We were blown away, we could not believe this is what the girls wanted to do and it was some of the most fun we ever had as coaches working a birthday party.”

Joe Wanderlingh, BVSA Instructor

Bobby Valentine’s First County Bank Athlete of the Month for July is Ava Quinlan! Ava is going into fourth grade at Springdale Elementary School,  and currently plays for the Stamford Stars 8u Red team. This isn’t just any 8u softball team, this team just recently earned a spot in the Babe Ruth World Series in Jensen Beach, Florida. Surprise, surprise, Ava was just awarded Player of the Game during the World Series Tournament!

Ava has played for the Stars for the last five years, starting at just four years old. This is her second year playing travel softball, and it has certainly been a successful one. She is hitting .614 and leading the team in RBIs with 26. She leads the team with 15 extra base hits, including her first career home run in the State Championship game. She ended up hitting for the cycle that game and took home MVP honors along with the championship trophy. 

Ava trains at BVSA in the offseason with Coach Danielle doing both hitting and pitching, and she has already verbally committed that she wants to work here when she is older.

Other than softball, Ava loves dancing at Center Stage Dance Studio and plays basketball for the Stamford Young Timers. Her favorite baseball team is the New York Yankees, with her favorite player being Aaron Judge. In ten years, you can find Ava starting at second base or on the mound for the University of Florida, as she already knows she wants to be a Gator.

We here at BVSA want to congratulate Ava Quinlan once more for earning this honor of First County Bank Athlete of the Month for July. She has made history as the youngest BVSA Athlete of the Month we’ve ever had, and we cannot wait to see her continue to grow into her game. Congratulations, Ava!

Alex Benevento – First County Bank Athlete of the Month

Alex Benevento
Alex Benevento

“I don’t know if I have ever met someone with such intensity, passion, and kindness around the game of baseball. Alex simply does not stop. He goes from the field, to the cage, to the gym, and then back to the cage to coach…

He is undeniably incredible to watch play, but even more impressive to be around and get to know because he is an amazing human being.”

Joe Wanderlingh, BVSA Instructor

Bobby Valentine’s First County Bank Athlete of the Month for June is seventeen year old Alex Benevento! Alex is a three year varsity starter for the New Canaan High School baseball team, currently finishing up his junior year.

“Seeing Alex grow these past three years has been amazing to watch. He came into BVSA as a freshman and you could see that his energy was on a different level. Not only did he want to improve at every aspect of the game, but he pushed others to do the same…

The dedication that he shows is evident, with an even higher level of respect for the craft. He proves this even further when working with younger players in our clinics, giving plenty of helpful tips while making it a fun experience. The sky is the limit for Alex in his future baseball endeavors, and I can’t want to see how far he can go.”

Matt Diurno, BVSA Instructor

Alex is primarily a center fielder, but can play the infield as well. In addition to baseball, he is also one of the captains for the NCHS varsity football team. When not on the field, he is watching the New York Yankees or his favorite player, Diamondbacks outfielder, Corbin Carroll. Alex has a 4.0 GPA and plans to study data analytics and play baseball at Brown University. 

We here at BVSA want to congratulate Alex once more for earning this honor of First County Bank Athlete of the Month for June. The tenacity on the field combined with the knowledge he loves to share with the younger kids is one you don’t see very often. He is an inspiration both with his skillset and his leadership. We cannot wait to see where he goes from here. Congratulations, Alex!

Marissa DelCarmine – First County Bank Athlete of the Month

“One of the hardest working athletes I have ever had the pleasure of working with. One of the most talented, well rounded softball players that I have seen in a while. Powerful, multi position, huge softball IQ. Someone you definitely enjoy watching when she’s playing and definitely am honored to coach her.” – Danielle Simoneau, BVSA Softball Director

Bobby Valentine’s First County Bank Athlete of the Month for May is sixteen year old Marissa DelCarmine!

Marissa started playing softball at the age of five and began her training at BVSA three years later. She is a pitcher and a shortstop, playing for both New Canaan Softball and the BVSA Titans.

“It has been an absolute pleasure getting the opportunity to coach Marissa over this past year with the Titans. She has a competitive presence to her that is unmatched and not just brings the best out of her, but elevates her teammates as well…

Marissa’s passion and drive for excellence makes her exactly the type of player coaches hope to be able to have on their team and in their program. I am excited to see what the future holds for her on the diamond and in the rink!” – Justin Virgulak, BVSA Facility Director

In addition to softball, Marissa plays volleyball and ice hockey for New Canaan High School. She is a honor roll student, undecided on what she might want to study in college being only a freshman.

Marissa is a big New York Yankees and New York Rangers fan, and enjoys watching the Florida Gators on the softball diamond when they are nationally televised. When not playing sports, she can be found at home enjoying time with her twin brother, older sister, and her two French Bulldogs.

We here at BVSA want to congratulate Marissa once more for earning this honor of First County Bank Athlete of the Month for May. Her competitiveness is contagious, her leadership is inspiring, and we cannot wait to see where she goes from here both on and off the field! Congratulations, Marissa!

Matthew Scholtz – First County Bank Athlete of the Month

Matthew Scholtz

“I have known Matthew Scholtz pretty much since my first day here at BVSA almost two years ago now, and I am constantly blown away with the different gears he possesses…

One night he can be in here talking Giants football and taking jump shots when picking up baseballs in the cage, and the next night activating “hulk mode” and blowing fastballs by hitters. He is an absolute pleasure to train and to coach, and I’m excited to watch him continue to grow into the player he is.” – Joe Wanderlingh, BVSA Instructor

Bobby Valentine’s First County Bank Athlete of the Month for April is Matthew Scholtz. Matt is currently in fourth grade and a part of the 10U Red team for New Canaan Travel Baseball. Last year as 9U Red, his team made it to the Regional Semifinal in West Hartford.

Matt started playing baseball when he was in preschool, and has played New Canaan baseball every spring and fall season since.
This past November, baseball was put on pause as Matt underwent an open heart aortic valve surgery called the Ross Procedure over at Columbia Presbyterian in New York City.
It took about two months before Matt was able to resume all activities, including joining his basketball team by the end of January and resuming his baseball lessons at BVSA.
Matt has returned to his old self this spring, dialing up his fastball and mixing in his new changeup to keep hitters off balance. He kicked off the month of April going 2-3 with a RBI and struck out five over two innings.
Baseball and basketball are just a few of Matt’s many talents. When not on the field or court, he plays keyboard in a band at School of Rock and has earned himself a black belt in Taekwondo a couple years back. 
We here at BVSA want to congratulate Matt once more for earning this honor of First County Bank Athlete of the Month for April. He is as tough as they come, having to go through more than any ten year old should. We here at BVSA love having him around the facility and are beyond excited to continue watching him grow! Congratulations, Matt!

Henry Reagan – First County Bank Athlete of the Month

Henry Reagan - Athlete of the Month
Henry Reagan

“Henry Reagan is one of the most determined, hard-working players I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. He experienced some injury setbacks that have not slowed him down in any way, they seemed to only motivate him more. Henry is so determined and committed to be great. He is such a perfect example for other athletes, and his hard work is really paying off. His improvements over the last few years are monumental! He simply won’t be denied and I’m so excited to see what the future holds. Congratulations Henry, you deserve it!” – Frank Ramppen, BVSA Managing Partner

Bobby Valentine’s First County Bank Athlete of the Month for March is Henry Reagan. Henry is currently the first baseman and designated hitter for CTBC.

It was always sports for Henry as he has played baseball, football, and travel hockey since he was in the third grade. He is entering his second season with CTBC, a team that was once a part of New Canaan Travel Baseball.
Henry is a straight-A student in the classroom, and his favorite class this year is Algebra. His favorite teams are the Seattle Mariners and Chicago Cubs, making his favorite players Julio Rodriguez and Anthony Rizzo. His other favorite teams include the Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears, and Philadelphia Eagles.
In addition to playing and watching sports, Henry really enjoys working out and playing chess. It feels like every day you can find him at BVSA either in the gym or on the field, putting in work one way or the other!
We here at BVSA want to congratulate Henry once more for earning this honor of First County Bank Athlete of the Month for March. We truly admire his work ethic and drive to achieve all of his goals, whether baseball related or following his dream of attending West Point and going into the Army. Wherever he goes from here, we couldn’t be prouder and happier to be a part of his process! Congratulations, Henry!