Sam Abdelwahab – First County Bank Athlete of the Month

Sam Abdelwahab

Our September, First County Bank Athlete of the Month is 10 year old Sammy Abdelwahab. Abdelwahab who is our youngest athlete to be recognized for this honor to date is easily one of the most deserving we have had. The young standout puts in the time and effort in like very few. Abdelwahab is either at the academy with Abate Training, with his team through NC Select, or on his own at home constantly working to be a better baseball player. What should not go understated though is the swag he walks through life with. Abdelwahab is easily noticed with matching attire for his favorite team, repping New Canaan, or any combination of loud colors which is reminiscent of a young Zack Ramppen (August FCB Athlete of the Month) at the old academy. Abdelwahab’s swag, confidence, and awareness to name a few, are qualities that help separate him from other players his age.  

Abdelwahab is predominantly an infielder (shortstop specifically) who is also a solid option on the mound as well for his teams. He can get the job done no matter where you put him or how intense the game situation might be. This is only helped by the fact that Abdelwahab has been playing baseball since he could stand up. The game is in his blood! New Canaan Travel has been the beneficiary to this point of Abdelwahab’s abilities on the field, as a teammate, and as an example to other players around him. However, those skills are only improving as he moves into his third year of working with Abate Training. The results are becoming more and more noticeable. Recently Abdelwahab played in a Perfect Game tournament in New Jersey and lit up the competition. At the plate he went 7-9 (.778) with 2 home runs and 9 runs batted in and on the mound he was 2-0 helping his team reach the championship game. A stellar run of games that only help solidify what we can all see coming in his future.

Mike Abate had this to say, “​​Extremely proud of this young man. Just a young kid playing the game the right way. With addition to his MVPs and player of the month awards, to leading his team to both a state and regional championship. What you don’t see is all the hard work he puts in not only on the field but off. He plays the game with heart and a great deal of passion. This is the way it’s suppose to be played at any level! Keep working hard Sammy and these Home-runs will be the first of many!

Success is something that Abdelwahab is very familiar with so far in his young life. He has already been a part of two Cal Ripken state championship wins and regional title where he was recognized with the MVP award. He and his team will be headed to the Cal Ripken 10U World Series this coming summer, which is another chance for more to see his incredible skill set. With all this success though Abdelwahab is just like most other kids his age. When he is playing or working for baseball he is playing football and basketball with his friends. He is a mega sports fan – watching his Mets and Giants any chance he gets! Abdelwahab also enjoys fishing, video games, and playing with his younger brother. He is a good student who loves to read short stories but best to make them about sports, those are his favorites! When he grows up he wants to play baseball in Florida and then ultimately professionally but additionally wants to be a team doctor.

We here at BVSA want to congratulate Abdelwahab once more on earning this honor of FCB Athlete of the Month! The hours of hard work and success on the field do not go unnoticed. We are excited to see what the future has in store because it is only going to get better from here on out!

Zack Ramppen – First County Bank Athlete of the Month

Zack Ramppen – First County Bank Athlete of the Month

Zack has always been different. Anytime you evaluate talent, the great ones have the ability to make the game look slow. In a world full of “size matters“ Zack makes those comparisons mute. This kid just knows how to play the game of baseball. He’s special and has the “it” we all look for in players. I have a great deal of confidence in Zack on being the best he can be. West Virgina is getting a great player and I wish him luck!

BV’s First County Bank Athlete of the month for August is Zack Ramppen, a senior at New Canaan High.  Ramppen is one of the most athletically gifted members of the BV Community.  He is also unequivocally one of the most unique personalities we have at the academy.  There is no other individual who is similar to Ramppen in his approach to baseball, his relationships with teammates, coaches, people in general, and life as a whole.  For those who have known Zack for the entirety of his time back state side since Japan, have had the pleasure of seeing him go from the little guy over at Camp Ave to the mature future Mountaineer headed off to West Virginia roughly a year from now.  His drive, determination, instinct and relaxed outlook on baseball allow him to not just compete but stand out amongst his peers and opponents.  Headed into his Senior year as a captain of the baseball team at NCHS, this being his 4th year on Varsity – Zack is ready to make an impact on the field with his play, and more importantly as a leader of this Rams squad.

Ramppen is pretty synonymous with baseball in this area, so it isn’t too much of a surprise how in his blood baseball has been from the beginning. Ramppen spent his developing years in Japan while his father Frank coached with none other than Bobby Valentine.  So his second home was a stadium – not much more need to ingrain baseball into you.  Ramppen spent so much time in the stands, in the dugout and out on the field soaking up what it took to be a top level athlete.  Satozaki was Ramppen’s favorite player in Japan and the reason he wanted to start catching (an amazing decision that was).  It didn’t take long for Ramppen to display some unbelievable talent even at such a young age.  Between the fun had at the field and the seriousness of Japan’s little league baseball it gave the perfect opportunity for Ramppen to start developing.  Once the Ramppens came home he picked up right where he left off, New Canaan baseball and the academy didn’t know what hit them!  Everything about him was different; the little things clicked so much faster and with ease then for others.  This was clear for everyone he was exposed to, including long time BVSA employee Tim Giuliano, who had this to say:

“Zack is one of those players who clearly makes a physical difference on the field. But the beauty of his ability is not realized until the car ride home. As you reflect on all the little events that influenced the game it’s obvious that not only is Zack involved in every moment, he creates the pulse of the game.“ 

As Ramppen got to the high levels of Ripken in New Canaan and even in his early years on the big field his play never skipped a beat.  Ramppen always found a way to affect the game – offensively, defensively, on the bases, or simply as a teammate (and is still the same to this day).

It didn’t take long for heads to turn once Ramppen walked into New Canaan High.  His impact much like his older brothers was going to be felt on the baseball team from year 1 as a freshman.  That is exactly what happened, Ramppen made Varsity as a freshman and started the first three games at third base until he took over behind the plate.  Ramppen showed out and brought an energy to the team, one of youthful exuberance along with leadership that would go a long way for future years.  Unfortunately, there was no Sophomore year due to COVID but the comeback Junior season was definitely one to write home about.  Ramppen lit up the field, leading his team in nearly all offensive categories (if not all of them) and was an exemplary leader amongst a relatively inexperienced Varsity squad.  What separated Ramppen throughout the entirety of the FCIAC though, was his stellar play behind the plate.  Controlling the pitch staff, limited past balls, and a non-existent running game against it was clear the level he was playing at.  This led to being named to the All-FCIAC East team and being drafted in the CT Fantasy Baseball draft. 

The momentum steamed rolled into the summer as Ramppen, in his first summer playing Time To Sign, continued to stand out and garner recognition.  Between his coaches, his teammates, opposing coaches, and opposing players it was clear to all Ramppen came to play.  Play he did. Ramppen during his first tournament in Georgia got noticed by the right eye.  For four straight days the West Virginia scout came back to see how Ramppen was going to not just impress but top his performance from the previous day.  It was not too long after the offer was extended and accepted to commit to playing at West Virginia University.  Founder of Time  To Sign, Berg Ohanian had this to say, “How lucky are we as coaches to have a player like Ramppen – plays it the right way 100% all the time. From a good baseball family, and we can see why Zack is so good. It was a pleasure being around and having this kid with us. Bright future ahead.” It has all come together for the once little guy who used to be running all over the academy having a blast and now will get to pursue his dream of playing Division One college baseball in the Big 12 Conference. Taking him one step closer to reaching professional baseball.

Outside of baseball Ramppen is a dedicated student and has been able to achieve making honor roll every quarter of his high school career except for one.  It’s this commitment that makes it so clear that when Ramppen sets his mind to what he wants anything is possible.  His ability to stay cool, calm, and relaxed under pressure only allows for the game or whatever endeavor he takes on to slow down so he can reach the highest.  We are proud to have such a great person (more than an athlete) representing B.V.S.A.  The future is so bright and we cannot wait to see what he is able to accomplish!

Jake Benner – First County Bank Athlete of the Month

Jake Benner – First County Bank Athlete of the Month

Jake “The Terminator” Benner is a coach's dream. He started training at about 165lbs, through his hard work he’s transformed himself into a 210 lbs powerhouse in about 2 years. He’s one the most determined and hardest working athletes I’ve ever come across.

For the month of May, our First County Bank Athlete of the Month is 17 year old Jake Benner. Benner is easily a stand out amongst his peers, both in stature and what the young athlete has accomplished on and off the field. He earned this recognition long before the month of May but after a solid season for the Vikings the timing couldn’t have been better. We at B.V.S.A. were fortunate to see Benner develop over the past couple off-seasons, spending countless hours with B.V.T. Lab working hard with Renick and Mike. It was in the Lab where you could see the different motor in Benner and the effort he is willing to give to make even the most minor improvement day to day. Those “minor improvements” have been gaining forty pounds and getting not just stronger but faster and more agile. 

“Jake is one of our hardest working athletes. Ask Jake to jump and he says “how high coach”?! He’s the type of guy that comes in, puts his head down, and gets to work every single day with no questions asked. He always puts 110 percent effort into everything he does and it really showed not only in his progression in the weight room, but also on the field this spring. We could not be happier for Jake and his accomplishments and we are excited to see what comes next for this amazingly hard working athlete.”

This is apparent on the ball field if it be for practice or in the heat of a game. The infielder and pitcher is an exemplary leader no matter his performance and a player that his teammates can lean on throughout the season.

Benner is a player that can be relied upon on all sides of the ball; a big bat, with a solid glove and a strong arm on the mound. However it is his calm presence in any moment on the field at the plate, out in the field, or on the mound that raises his value to any of his coaches and teammates. This has been something that he has developed over a long period of time being a ball player. Benner has been playing since the age of 5 and fell in love with the game immediately. It was a perfect fit that was apparent and anybody in Stamford American could easily see as he played through Little League. Benner played for their 11U and 12U All-Star teams with early signs of being a dominant force. He then went on to play Stamford Legion for three years before finding his home with the Clubhouse in Fairfield. The now Junior Captain of the Westhill Vikings has also played basketball for the school in previous years as well but the diamond is where he excels the most. 

“Jake is one of the most talented, hardest working student-athletes to come through our program in years. He is 110% dedicated to everything he does regardless of what it is. In the class-room (4.5 GPA), the weight-room, or on the diamond you will not find a harder worker. Do not be fooled by his quiet and calm demeanor. On the field, he is a fierce competitor who will do whatever he can do to help us win. In my opinion, Jake is one of the best two-way players in the State. I am beyond thankful that he is on our team and we don't have to play against him!"

This made him an easy choice for the Ruden Report to nominate him for Player of the Week, which Benner ultimately won. However, it is with all this behind him as a ball player that will help him excel at the next level in the coming years.

The recognition is not just for his on-field or in the weight room work ethic because it doesn’t stop there for him. As stated above he has a 4.0 GPA and 4.5 weighted GPA. Benner also finds time to be involved with the Academy of Finance at Westhill with future plans to pursue a degree in business at a high academic institution. You can also see him spending a lot of his free time volunteering if it be with Stamford American for their winter workouts, Stamford North in their Challenger League, at the St. Leo’s Church or at Kids Helping Kids. It is simply impressive what he has been able to accomplish and do not just for himself but so many others in such a short period of time. 

We were happy and excited to be able to recognize Benner with this honor of FCB Athlete of the Month. Looking forward to seeing another year of hard work in BVT and what he will be able to achieve on the field but in his personal life as well. 

Congratulations and keep striving to best yourself each and every day because few are as hardworking, dedicated, and determined as you are. It will be a fun ride the next few years to see it all unfold.

2021 Statistics:

Offensive – .510 AVG, .576 OBP, 1.059 SLG, 25H, 8 2B, 1 #B, 5 HR, 18 R, 22 RBI, 5 SB,  

Pitching – 17.1 IP, 2 W, 2L, 2Saves, 7ER, 2.82 ERA, 4 BB, 34K

Resume:

      • Academy of Finance Member – 2019 to present
      • Extracurricular Activities:
      • Westhill High School Varsity Baseball – 2020-present, named Captain Spring 2021
      • The Clubhouse Baseball – Elite baseball club providing top notch baseball instruction to aid in player development and college recruitment – National Team (2019-2020), Prospect Team (2020-Present)
      • Westhill High School Bee Club Member – Present (2021-2022) – Provide bees with shelter and harvest honey to be sold for funding school-based programs
      • Westhill High School Kids Helping Kids Club Member – Present (2021-2022)
      • Westhill High School Freshman Baseball Captain – 2019
      • Stamford Recreational Basketball League – 2019 Season
      • Westhill High School Freshman Basketball – 2018 Season – Coaches Award Recipient
      • Stamford Legion Baseball – 2017-2019 – MVP Award Recipient 2018, Coaches Award Recipient 2017
      • Stamford American Little League – 2009-2016

Volunteer Work:

      • Stamford Challenger Little League – Spring 2021 – Provide baseball instruction to players with special needs and assist with coaching games.
      • Stamford American Little League – Volunteered at winter work out clinics to aid in the development of young baseball players – Winter 2020
      • St. Leo’s Annual Church Fair – Summers 2016-2018 – Assisted with Fair set-up and breakdown; worked various game booths.
      • St. Leo’s Annual Clothing Drive – 2017 – Organized clothes to be provided to the Covenant House for under privileged families.
      • Clothes to Kids of Fairfield County – 2017-2018 – Organized and stocked the store floor to help ensure that the clothing needs of students visiting the store are met and to make the shop a welcoming place for families.
      • Still Meadow Elementary School – Volunteered at family fundraising events – organized events and assisted children with various sport competitions – Spring 2017 & 2018
      • The Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County – Volunteered throughout 2017 & 2018 – Sorted donated food items and stocked shelves

Work Experience:

      • Peak Performance Sports Camp CIT – Summer 2019 – Taught young children various sports such as soccer, basketball, and baseball
      • Stamford American Little League Junior Umpire – 2018 & 2019 Seasons & hopefully 2021!
      • Awards/Accomplishments:
      • The Ruden Report Player of the Week for outstanding baseball performance – April 2021
      • Westhill Varsity Baseball Captain – Spring 2021 to present

Clete Wheeler – First County Bank Athlete of the Month

Clete Wheeler

Clete Wheeler – First County Bank Athlete of the Month

Clete Wheeler

Our April, First County Bank Athlete of the Month is 18 year old Clete Wheeler. Wheeler is a true standout amongst his peers. A genuinely nice person,  with an unmatched motor, and a player every coach dreams of having lead his team.  A member of the BVSA community since his family moved to New Canaan many years ago. Wheeler became even more rooted into BVSA when this past year he started as instructor on top of his busy schedule. Wheeler’s daily routine would consist of church, school, baseball, work for the academy, and then school work. He does all of it with a positive, fun loving attitude.  This makes each endeavor that much more worthwhile because it serves a greater purpose.

Wheeler is currently a senior at New Canaan High School and a Captain of the Varsity Baseball team. Serving as their starting Shortstop, Wheeler can play every other position on the field, as well as pitcher. This dynamic and versatile ability makes him so valuable to the Rams roster.  Clete can do it all above the level of an average high school player.  His Head Coach, Anthony Bloss has this to say, “Clete is one of our 4 captains and has been a leader both on and off the field. He leads by example and takes ownership of his performances. His teammates respond to him in a positive way, and he is always smiling and encouraging.” 

Wheeler started this journey back in Utah as a first grader when he initially picked up the glove and bat for the first time. His development and passion for baseball has only grown with each passing year no matter the state he was in. Wheeler joined the NC Select Rams when the family moved to CT and immediately integrated himself into the program. The then 11 year old Wheeler would become a main stead of New Canaan baseball as well as our own Fury baseball program for many years.

Wheeler has trained with Coach Frank Ramppen of Ramp3 Baseball at the Academy, on top of all the teams through the years.  He credits a great deal of his development to the years spent in the cages with Frank honing in and making the adjustments necessary to improve his game. Frank had this to say, “Clete is so deserving to have been chosen as athlete of the month.  He has been my hardest working student over the last 6 years and has developed into a great player. He trained 2-3 times a week throughout the year, regardless of his busy schedule but that is such a small part of the big picture.  Clete is one of the greatest young men I have ever had the pleasure to meet. He has accomplished so many things in his young life but most importantly exemplifies how a young man should behave.  I have never seen Clete in a bad mood.  His infectious smile and kind, energetic personality are so consistent, so uplifting and so present. I can’t wait to see how many more great things he does in his life and how many people he will make better around him along the way.  Congrats Clete!!!”

Wheeler has and continues to be multi dimensional as an athlete and as a person. His athletic endeavors prior to his junior year was that of being a football player and a wrestler as well. Two sports that take unwavering commitment, breed a brotherhood mentality and build your character as an individual. Wheeler is a 3-time state champion for football, twice in Utah and once here in Connecticut with New Canaan. He is just as dominant in the classroom as he is on the wrestling mat, on the football field or on the diamond. Wheeler maintains a 3.7 GPA and plans to major in finance at Brigham Young University in Utah this upcoming fall. But, what is likely the most defining part of who Wheeler is an athlete, a student, and as a person is his religious backing as a devout Mormon. It is such an integral part of his everyday life but he plans on serving a church mission for The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints after his freshman year of college to help spread the word of Mormonism.

If you have the pleasure of having Clete Wheeler in your life in any capacity, you are likely better off for it. There is some impact and lasting mark from your interactions with Wheeler.  He embodies what we hope all of our athletes can and will be in whatever endeavor they choose to put time and effort into.  We couldn’t be more proud and excited to be able to award him this honor and recognize Clete Wheeler as not just an athlete but as an individual. Looking forward to seeing what he can accomplish in the future as we know great things are on the horizon.

Hannah Murray – First County Bank Athlete of the Month

Hannah Murray – First County Bank Athlete of the Month

 

Our First County Bank Athlete of the Month for March 2021 is Hannah Murray.  Murray is a fourteen year old 8th grader who attends Greenwich Academy. A veteran of Bobby Valentine’s, she is a hard working and dedicated athlete.  Hannah is constantly working to improve her craft as well as her athleticism. Her diligence to being her best is not limited to the cage or the field as she excels in the classroom as well. Murray is well on her way to becoming an impressive student-athlete at the high school level. Which only helps exemplify and confirm her selection as FCB Athlete of the Month.

“A coach’s dream!!!” – Danielle Simoneau

Her long time instructor Danielle Simoneau, is the director of our Lady Titans program.  Danielle had this to say of Hannah, “Hard working, enthusiastic, and always with a smile! A coach’s dream!!!” This can truly be felt as a spectator outside any of her lessons, practices, or games.

Murray’s desire and interest in softball came from the time spent at her brother Zach’s baseball games. She started off playing baseball as early as 4 years old and fell in love with the game. Murray picked up the game very quickly and her talents shined through. At 8 years old she played for Norwalk’s 8U Cal Ripken All-Star team, where she got to travel the state competing. She was the only girl on the team, which did not intimidate her at all, and even at the young age she was confident in her skills on the field.  Shortly after, Murray made the transition to the softball diamond, playing her first season with a Greenwich Parks and Recreation team. This is where she focused on mastering the fundamentals of the game and began her journey to be a great softball player.

“She puts in the work and always has her team’s back.” – Quianna Diaz Patterson


The next stop in her path was a stint with Tucci Lumber Elite. Here she continued to grow and develop as a player. The smaller details of the game became much more important. This only helped narrow her focus. Her most recent home is here with our Lady Titans. Her coach Quianna Diaz Patterson had this to say about her player, “Hannah’s hardworking, easily coachable, and an enthusiastic leader for her team. She puts in the work and always has her team’s back. You’ll never see her without a smile and her team can count on her fully. Totally deserving of player of the month!”

Entering her second season Murray continues to improve her skills and overall game play. Murray has been a more than solid pitcher and outfielder throughout her playing career so far. However, she has started to play first base to be more versatile and valuable to her team.  Most importantly and in Murray’s own words, “One thing I love about softball is all the amazing coaches and teammates I have met along the way. They help push me and get me closer to achieving my dream of playing in college each and every day.” Without any doubt, Murray’s coaches and teammates feel the same way she does.

“Totally deserving of player of the month!” – Coach Diaz Patterson

 

As mentioned earlier Murray is a force in the classroom as well. An honor roll student at Greenwich Academy with high expectations on herself. A class that she is passionate about and excels at is science, where for the year she is averaging an ‘A’. In addition, her passions extend to painting, doodling, and experimenting with recipes in her kitchen.  This allows her creative expression to take over and be free. One of her favorite things to do is play with her puppy, Albie Sassafras! Murray wants to work with children when she is older, either as a teacher or a pediatrician but also stay involved in the game.  Passing on her softball knowledge and experience to the next wave of superstars.

We here at BVSA are extremely proud and so happy to be able to give Hannah this honor. The hard work in the cage, at practice, on the field, and especially in the classroom made this such an easy choice. Continue to work hard and make this place proud, big things are on the horizon. Everybody is very excited to see what the coming years have in store! Congratulations!

Lewis Cropper – First County Bank Athlete of the Month

Lewis Cropper – First County Bank Athlete of the Month

Our First County Bank Athlete of the Month for February 2021 is Lewis Cropper. Cropper is a 18 year old Senior, captain at St. Luke’s School in New Canaan, CT. Cropper has blazed his own path both at the school and in his respective sports. He is an athlete who enjoys going the extra mile after going a few already to make any improvement he can. A long time member of the BVSA community, Cropper was a main stead for years in the Fury program. Great to see his years of experience shine through as he leads the SLS Baseball team in their Winter Workouts prior to this Spring season. It is this exemplary work ethic that makes him a great fit for this honor.

Cropper will be featured all over the diamond this coming season as he not only pitches but plays shortstop, third base, and first base. This versatility is part of what makes him so valuable to his team. Coach Sam Colon this Spring. Colon had this to say, “Lewis Cropper is an amazing young man.  He embodies the student athlete players should model themselves after.  His hard work on and off the field, along with his leadership abilities makes his teammates and coaches the luckiest people.” It is also something that Kenyon College took notice of! Even though he committed there to pitch, Cropper standing at an impressive 6’4” is an athlete and his athleticism only makes him that much more valuable 60 feet 6 inches away in between the white lines. 

However, this hasn’t always been the case for Cropper who has gone through his own trials and tribulations to get where he is now. Cropper started his playing career back when he was 5 years old, in the little league of his hometown of Wilton, Connecticut. Cropper played through little league and the early years on the big field with some success, but the big event that changed the course of his playing career came in his Freshman year. He was cut, which altered not just where he decided to play the next year, but his work ethic as a whole. Cropper transferred to St. Lukes School to repeat his Freshman year and recommitted himself to improving his entire skill set. Coach Conte, Fury Director, had this on full display both as Cropper’s former coach at St. Lukes, his coach in Fury for sometime and an important mentor in his college selection. This past summer of 2020 he posted a 1.98 era over 36 and ⅔ innings, absolutely astounding numbers coming off a COVID pause period.

“I will always remember the first day I met Lewis and his dad upstairs at BVSA.  Lewis had just been cut and was looking to possibly transfer to SLS.  Immediately, you could see by his work ethic, focus, and gangly movements, he was set up for serious future success.  Have to shout out Marc Fraioli for bringing Lewis into our lives that day.  Seems weird and awesome that I get to say this two months in a row but Lewis is the kind of player/person that makes the people around him better. Looking forward to watching you dominate the FAA this spring and bring your amazing energy to Kenyon over the next four years!!”

As Cropper describes, “it was the wake up call for me, and I realized that I needed to spend a lot more time getting better.” What separates Cropper from the rest goes way past baseball though. Basketball is also a passion he has and excels at. A now two year captain of the baseball team (3 year starter), Cropper has played Varsity basketball all four years at the school. As a Junior prior to COVID he was a starter, the team won the FAA championship and this year was named a captain of that team as well.  Head Coach Tony Newsom had this to say about Lewis, “It has truly been a pleasure coaching Lewis. He’s an outstanding young man with a great work ethic. He is a selfless individual who has earned the respect of his teammates and coaches with his leadership. I’m excited to see what the future holds for Lewis!”

Additionally, Cropper excels in the classroom knowing that building knowledge and continuing to learn is what can make him more successful on the field and after his playing career is done. He finished with a 4.0 for the first semester of his senior year and knows exactly what he wants to do at Kenyon this fall. He plans on majoring in economics, with the goal of becoming a successful entrepreneur in the years following school.

Lewis Cropper though is a multi-dimensional person who is much more than just the athlete he has been described as. During quarantine he took up yoga and is now said to be hooked on it, he does it everyday without fail. Lewis is also a member of the Investment Club at school, he is learning a ton about stocks and business practices. But, one of the great things he is doing is writing and journaling. Not just every start he has but big things he is learning in his efforts to continually be improving himself. We here at BVSA are so happy to be able to give him the honor because it is so earned and deserved for his constant efforts. Kenyon College should be excited about getting not just a player but a person like Lewis Cropper. We are excited to see what he can do with this opportunity and wish him the best of luck.

First County Bank Athlete of the Month – Jack Hoch

First County Bank Athlete of the Month – Jack Hoch

Our January, First County Bank Athlete of the Month for January 2021 is Jack Hoch. Hoch is a 17 year old senior, switch hitting, captain at Stamford High School. The leader of the Stamford Black Knights team is one the most diligent, respectful and hard working athletes we are blessed to have coming into the Academy. Hoch in his senior year has plenty to concern himself with; school work, applications and school interviews. However, Hoch is the only captain on the Stamford roster and has taken complete responsibility for his squad’s winter workout. He is both leading the charge but more importantly leading by example.

Hoch is a big, lean, strong athlete who has found a home in the outfield and on the mound. His ability to cover ground out in that wide open space and have nerves of steel on the bump make him a dynamic player for Coach Rit Lacomis this upcoming season. 

Lacomis had this to say, “Jack is extremely deserving of this recognition. He’s a tremendous baseball player, fantastic student, and even better person. Jack brings everything a coach wants in a player to the SHS Baseball Program and uses it to continuously make everyone around him better. He is someone that willingly leads his peers and is looked up to by underclassmen. Although Jack’s on-field contributions to the SHS Baseball team are important, his main value to our program runs much deeper.” 

Although, what makes Jack Hoch even more impressive than anything we could say about his baseball skill and acumen is the level of achievement in school and what he does off the field. Hoch maintains a 3.96 GPA with the lofty (but achievable) goal of going to an academically competitive college with the plans to study neuroscience this coming fall. The school has yet to be determined but Hoch’s drive and ability to persevere will make this endeavor an awesome journey for our Athlete of the Month.

Jack has lived quite a baseball life, starting out as the die-hard Mets fan those around him have come to know and love, his playing career started in Stamford at just 4 years old. Hoch played in what is formerly known as Springdale Little League (now Stamford North), then progressed to Stamford Babe Ruth where at 15 years old Hoch made the 18U roster. In addition, Hoch got a lot of experience from his fall seasons with the Connecticut Blue Jays in Hartford as well. The best experience of Hoch’s baseball life has to be his coaching the Stamford North Little League 10U All Star team, where he passed on his knowledge and experiences to each of those dedicated players.  

Coach Conte at Bobby V’s had this to say about Jack, “Jack is the kind of person you bend over backwards to make time to work with!  He schedules his own training sessions, maximizes every minute of his training, somehow finds time to work in some Met’s or current science banter and he’s walked to BVSA in the rain multiple times!  As a coach we get blessed with a handful of players who push us to be better coaches and people.  Jack is definitely one of those people! The maturity and dedication to excellence is something we can all learn from.  Can’t wait to see what he does this spring for baseball as well as through and after college, beyond baseball.  My personal prediction after baseball, he helps solve some major health crisis in the future!!”

It is exciting to see what the future holds for Hoch, but without a shadow of doubt it will definitely be a bright one. A lot of things to look forward to; a senior season, getting accepted to the right college, and starting that next chapter of his journey.  We at BVSA who have seen you coming in over the past decade want to say congratulations and that we cannot wait to see what unfolds very soon. It is great to have such a shining example of what hard work and determination can create!

Justin Virgulak

Justin Virgulak

Writer and Editor

First County Bank Athlete of the Month – Frank Drugge

First County Bank Athlete of the Month – Frank Drugge

Our March, First County Bank Athlete of the Month is 16 year old Frank Drugge. Drugge is one of our hardest working and dedicated athletes that come through BVSA on a daily basis. Even on the last day of business before having shut down due to COVID-19 he was in the cage on his own getting his work in. Drugge is consistently the first player at practice (early) and the last player to leave practice (late).   He does this all in the efforts to work more than what is required of him.  He is a very smart player, who goes out and completes on every pitch, and someone his teammates know will be there for him. Drugge is currently a Junior at Darien High and is hoping that all this hard work won’t be for not and the spring season can get played.

Drugge is a versatile player who can play anywhere that is needed other than catcher (can’t hurt to ask though) and he pitches as well. However, he has been playing a multitude of sports for most of his life. Drugge has been playing baseball since he could walk and continues to show the same drive he had as a child to excel to this day. In addition, soccer was a lifelong passion of his until this past fall when he chose not to play for the high school. Drugge actually played for Jhonny Arteaga of JA Elite, our soccer partner here at the facility. Drugge also picked up indoor track this past winter and made FCIAC’S in the 55 meter dash.

However, he is more than just a dedicated athlete. Drugge is another great example of the student-athletes we have at BVSA. Currently maintaining a 3.72 GPA, while in BC Calculus and AP Calculus-based physics Drugge is an active member of National Honor Society, Math Honors Society, and Music Honors Society. Additionally music is his other passion in life, something he is thoroughly engaged in as he is Darien High’s lead trumpet in their jazz band (2nd year) and Norwalk Youth Symphony’s principal french horn player (1st year). With all this going on in his life and him working as hard as he does for baseball, time management is definitely a skill Drugge has shown.

With the high school season still up in the air, we can only hope to see Drugge in his Darien blues driving the ball to all fields.  But in the chance we do not get to see this, we at BVSA get to look forward to the summer Fury season with Drugge on our 17U team. Coach Anthony Conte has this to say, “As a coach, you are constantly forming relationships at all different levels with your players.  Drugge is a kid we took to many years ago when he made his inefficient mechanics work to his advantage. He was basically throwing a slider every pitch and having great success.  Drugge has come and gone over the years but has always been polite, focused and hardworking.  He has since fixed his mechanics, grown multiple feet and continued that “figure it out” attitude.  Drugge is well deserving of this accolade!  We are pumped to be coaching him this summer as he continues his quest to find the right high academic university.  I am especially looking forward to continuing to get to know and learn from this awesome young scholar athlete,” 

Another great thing about Drugge is he will be successful in something.  Baseball, music, or something school related because that is just the type of person he is! Congratulations again on this honor, we here at BVSA are excited for his future and even more excited to be a part of his present.

Justin Virgulak

Justin Virgulak

Writer and Editor

First County Bank Athlete of the Month – Everett Andersen

First County Bank Athlete of the Month – Everett Andersen

Our February Athlete of the Month is 16 year old Everett Andersen. Andersen shines as a great example of what young kids should aspire to be like and a kid that any parent would be proud of. A long standing member of the B.V.S.A. family, there are few that work as hard as he does across so many different sports and activities. His time spent in the cage, in the gym, on the field, and Andersen is a through and through competitor, with the heart of a great teammate, and someone who is a true coach’s player. Andersen is currently a Sophomore at St. Lukes School and has been a member of the Varsity baseball team since eighth grade. This will be his third year starting and is more prepared than ever to make a large impact on the team.

Andersen is predominantly an infielder who has an electric arm off the hill, but has the versatility to play the outfield when needed. However, the hard work described earlier and the years of experience playing is what turned Andersen into the dynamic athlete he is. He like most started in the backyard playing around and wanting to compete with his brothers. Andersen is the youngest of five who all played high school baseball, which allowed for steep competition at home helping to progress him that much quicker. Organized baseball started for him at five years old and played for the Wilton District teams from the ages of seven through the end of little league (twelve years old). In this time, he was the only eleven year old ever selected to the Wilton LL 11/12/ District Team and in the following year as a twelve year old won the league’s Home Run Derby. Simultaneously, Andersen started to play BVSA Fury in his ten year old year and has continued ever since. He continues to also be a program favorite, with coaches loving his approach to the game and overall attitude.

Andersen has been playing sports for St. Lukes since 6th grade; baseball, football, and basketball. All three taking a lot of time, commitment and effort to be his best. He would probably tell you himself that basketball was for the fun of it, competing with his friends. But football and baseball have an added element to it. He has been playing football since 3rd grade and has been the starting Varsity Quarterback for St. Luke’s the past two years. Although, baseball is again where he stands out, being brought up to Varsity in eighth grade, starting at Shortstop and only missing three innings all season. Former St. Luke’s Baseball Program Director and current Director of Operations at BVSA, Anthony Conte said, “I had the pleasure of coaching Everett at St. Luke’s as an 8th and 9th grader. I’m also currently coaching him for our 17U BVSA Fury team and see him, what seems like everyday, working with Frank. Everett is a yes sir, yes coach type of kid. He’s always ready to go, constantly works his butt off and has fun doing it; makes him a great dugout guy. I can’t wait to see how things play out for him this season and in the future.” An evident advantage to his game is training with Frank Ramppen and Ramp3 Baseball all off-season. Frank had this to say of Everett, “Everett and I have been working together for 6 years. He is so deserving of this acknowledgement as you can see by the achievements and comments above. I could go on and on and add to the baseball, athletic accomplishments but as a dad of two young athletes I feel that would be selling him short. Yes, he is a hard working, tremendous athlete and teammate but above and beyond that, what an outstanding young man and human being he is. We normally work together 2 and sometimes 3 days a week since he was 10 years old. Week after week, month after month and year after year he is so consistent. His manners, energy, enthusiasm, smile and caring demeanor are infectious. It has been an honor for me to work with such an outstanding young man. I am so proud of him in so many ways and look forward to following his incredibly bright future.”

Outside of baseball and his sports, Andersen is an honor student at St. Lukes and maintains a 3.5 GPA. Additionally he sings a cappella at the school with the group No Strings Attached and there is a great video on Ramp3’s Instagram of this! Andersen with the limited time left also ballroom dances and has been since he was a fifth grader. All of this going for him, training for two sports and playing for multiple teams throughout the year he really makes the most of his time. The now 6’3”, 180lbs student-athlete plans and is working toward college baseball at a demanding academic institution. With his drive, perseverance, and overall work ethic he will surely achieve this. We at B.V.S.A. are proud to have him representing us and are excited to see what the near and distant future holds for him.

Justin Virgulak

Justin Virgulak

Written and Published

First County Bank Athlete of the Month – January

First County Bank Athlete of the Month – January

Our January Athlete of the Month is 18 year old Henry “Hank” Schwoerer. Schwoerer has been a truly dedicated player to the entire process of becoming the best player he can be and to the process of getting himself recruited to play at the next level. He committed himself in the classroom, in the cage, and in the weight room to be an example of what every student-athlete should strive to be. Schwoerer is also a dynamic player who can affect the game on all sides of the ball (hitting, defense, baserunning and on the hill). Schwoerer has been a contributing member to his Fairfield Prep Jesuits team for multiple years now and plans to make a quick impact to his Western New England Golden Bears.

Schwoerer, from Stamford, started his career playing for Stamford National Little League as well as playing for Cloonan Middle School’s baseball team in 7th and 8th grade. After this though he was a mainstay for both BVSA’s Fury teams and Prep’s baseball team. He played Fury for 3 years across many seasons and has been a Varsity member at Prep all four years (a starter for 3). Last summer he played Baseball U for their black team and looks forward to competing for Stamford Legion at Cubeta field this upcoming summer. Schwoerer through all the baseball over the years developed into a coach’s player and an amazing teammate. Coach Conte had this to say about Schwoerer, “Hank was an awesome addition to the BVSA squad.  He marches to his own beat, always has a smile on his face and loves to work. I don’t care who you are, coaches love athletes who love the work and Hank is one of those athletes. He was blessed with a high level of talent but continues to develop everyday. I was personally pumped when he locked in WNE. You love to see a kid like Hank land somewhere where he has the potential to really flourish as a human being and an athlete! WNE is lucky to have a student athlete like him join their ranks.” So much so that he is one of this year’s captains in his senior campaign. Additionally he was a part of the SCC Championship Team for Fairfield Prep in 2018 and was selected on to the CT High School Coaches Junior Select Team in 2019.

Off the field Schwoerer does a lot both in his school and neighborhood communities as well. At Prep he is a Freshman Orientation and Freshman Retreat Leader, helping guide the new students on what to expect along with getting them ready for the next level of schooling. Schwoerer also volunteers at the Boys and Girls Club in Stamford, as well as St. Leo’s church (also in Stamford). He is a very dedicated student as well and finds time to workout multiple times a week. When Schwoerer heads off to WNE this fall he will be studying Sports Management and continuing to be a good example for other players. We here at Bobby Valentine’s are happy to have been a part of his journey and look forward to seeing what Hank has in store next!

Justin Virgulak

Justin Virgulak

Writer and Editor