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Q & A With Orange’s Pat Winkel, Twins Baseball Draft Pick

 Around Town, Home, Latest News, Sports  Comments Off on Q & A With Orange’s Pat Winkel, Twins Baseball Draft Pick
Jul 262021
 

If you are from the Amity area, you know the name Pat Winkel. If you are lucky enough to have met him, you know how genuine, polite and smart he is.

With the Amity Spartans

If you’ve been fortunate enough to have seen him play baseball locally, from the time he was a child playing in Orange Little League, then later on the American Legion team, and finally at Amity High School where he was named Athlete of the Year in 2018 then you have seen the joy on his face when he’s on the field. This young man genuinely loves the game.

While in high school, Pat made headlines as the 31st round pick by the New York Yankees in the 2018 MLB Draft. He chose to study at UCONN and play baseball with his big brother, Chris, instead.

Earlier this month, he was picked in the 9th round by the Minnesota Twins.

Last week Orange Live talked to Pat to catch up, congratulate him and to get the answers to those questions that may have been bopping around your heads.

Here’s our conversation:

OL: How does it feel to be drafted again? 

From UConn Website

It feels unbelievable, especially with the draft being shorter, and less kids being picked, its even more of an honor now than it was back then. I’m finally able to start that chapter in my life and it feels even better.

OL: Out of High School you chose your further education and playing college ball with your brother over the Yankees, how is this time different?

I think I’m more ready. I used that time at UConn to learn about myself more – to learn about my game a little bit more and hone in on those things that I’m good at, and fix some things that I wasn’t “amazing” at to become a better player. 

OL: Did you expect your name to come up sooner or later?

At the end of the day I’m just really happy that it worked out for me. It’s not really about where, it’s about the opportunity and that’s an important way to look at it. It’s great to say that you were in this round pick or that one, but really it’s all about getting the opportunity and getting a chance to come here and start that pro career that people always dream about. For me, just getting the call and hearing my name — it was awesome.

OL: Were you happy that it was the Twins who chose you?

I’m happy the Twins took me, it’s a great organization. I was surprised because it happened really quick from the time I found out they were considering me to when they took me was all in a couple of minutes. It happened really fast.

OL: Where are you now?

I’m in Fort Myers, Florida at their baseball academy which is their spring training complex and we’re doing physicals and acclamation and [other] work over the next so many days.

OL: The Twins have 6 farm teams — Are you going somewhere else or are you going to be based in Florida?

I’m not quite sure, yet. I’m down here for what’s called a mini-camp and then after the mini-camp I’m assuming the players that are drafted will be placed on different teams, but I’m not sure yet.

UCONN

OL: How many catchers do the Twins have in their farm teams? What kind of competition do you have?

I’m not really sure. I know they took another great catcher that I met through college and this summer when I was at Cape Cod. He’s a great player. I’m not sure how many they have in the farm system but obviously everyone here is a professional and everyone is here for a reason so I’m sure, but the competition is going to be very tough. 

OL: How many steps away from major leagues are you now?

Well, I’m here now and then there are four or five teams prior to the majors, depending on where you get placed. The goal is to just keep playing well and going up the system.

OL: How did our local Orange little league, American Legion and Amity High School prepare you for this moment in your life?

They are all so intertwined. Not only Orange but the Woodbridge and Bethany (Amity) system puts such an emphasis on not only sports but also making good quality people too. The coaches we’ve had preach on you being a good person on and and off the field and tell you how to have a good character, so just going through that system and the little league system really gives you the tools to be able to go to that next level. So whether it was going from little league to middle school and middle school to high school, then college it just made the transitions seamless.

OL: When did you first take on the position of catcher?

I first became a catcher in little league. So, I’ve been catching for 13 or 14 years and I haven’t had any problems (knee injuries) with it, and that’s the goal to just stay healthy. I knew pretty early that that’s what I wanted to do, and that’s when I became serious about it. I think that benefitted me to take all of those years and hone in on one thing versus trying different positions and figuring out that I didn’t want to play shortstop or be a pitcher.

OL: How are your friends and fans reacting to the latest news?

Oh, it’s great, I’ve gotten so much support from all my friends, kids that I knew in high school who I haven’t talked to in a long time because we went to different schools, or they’ve been busy. But there have been a ton of people reaching out saying congrats and wishing me the best. It’s great hearing from people from Amity and even middle school and grammar school that I haven’t heard from in a bit.

My coaches were some of the first ones to call me. (Bob Mirto from Legion ball and Amity Coach Sal Coppola) They’re the greatest. They always wish the guys the best. I always have them to talk to, they’re always checking in. Those are great relationships that will never die.They are lifelong friends, quality coaches that only want the best for their players.

OL: Do you have any advice for kids in the early stages of baseball (little league, etc) to get to where you are.

Yes. At the end of the day, it is a game, especially in little league that’s the time when you want to enjoy it the most. You should really have fun and don’t put too much pressure on yourself, because it’s hard to play when there’s too much pressure on you, and you may not play well. So remember it’s a game, enjoy it the best you can and good things will happen.

OL: You were always known for wearing bowties when you dressed up, can we expect to see that signature look in the future?

Absolutely you can. That’s going nowhere.

 

Orange Live thanks Pat for taking the time to chat with us and of course, we wish him the very best in the future. 

Golf Tourney Planned For September 27

 Around Town, Charity Events, Home, Latest News, Police & Fire, Sports  Comments Off on Golf Tourney Planned For September 27
Jul 252021
 

The Orange Economic Development Corporation will host its 15th annual Golf Tournament at Race Brook Country Club, 246 Derby Ave., Orange on Monday, Sept. 27.

The Orange Volunteer Fire Department will receive a portion of the proceeds from this event.

Check-in will begin at 11:30 a.m. followed by a lunch reception at noon. A shotgun start takes place at 1 p.m.

Cost per player is $175 and includes 18 holes with cart, tournament gift, lunch reception, snacks and beverages on the course, contests and cocktail hour.

Lunch-only tickets are available for non-golfers at $35 each.

Click HERE to Register.

For more information contact Annmarie Sliby at Asliby@Orange EDC.com or call 203-891-1045.

 

Jun 302021
 

I would like to apologize to Orange Live readers for the sudden stop of current posts in the past few days.

What happened? I was hacked (again). Some unscrupulous individual got into my computer and locked me out this time.

I’m pretty good, slipping with age, but not as good as those who dedicate their lives to making others’ lives a living nightmare.

Posting on the site is extremely difficult from my phone, especially since I cannot type like a teenager on a cell phone keyboard.

Thanks to Omar at PCW Computer in Orange for getting me back in the saddle again, Oh, it feels good to be able to type again!

I promise to do my best to keep you all informed about the latest happenings on the town activities, weather alerts, etc. I’m working hard to catch up.

 

Trophies, Scholarships Presented At Block A Awards Ceremony

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Jun 152021
 

2020-2021 Block A Awards (Part 2)

After a disappointing 2019-2020 school year for high school athletes, when the Annual Block A Award Ceremony took place virtually and winners had to wait until their drive-thru graduation to receive their plaques and trophies, this year’s modified in-person event was a breath of fresh air. 

Although there was no dinner, and everyone still had to wear face masks, at least the Amity Athletes had the experience of hearing their names and receiving their awards directly from their coaches in front of their peers and parents. 

The ceremony took place in the Amity auditorium on Sunday, June 13, at 5 p.m. For anyone who couldn’t make it, or didn’t have an invitation, the event was live-streamed and is now available to anyone on YouTube

Athletic Director Ernie Goodwin hosted the event. 

Here are the 2020-2021 Special Awards:

* = not present, no photo

Unified Sportsmanship Award – Saeed Karout*

Versatility Award – Caroline Cadelina (Girls Golf, Hockey)

Versatility Award – Justin Miller (Boys Football, Hockey, Lacrosse)

Scholar-Athlete Award – Eesha Acharya*

Scholar-Athlete Award – Jack Ranani

Sportsmanship Award – Anthony Esposito (volleyball)

Sportsmanship Award – Lauren Ronai (Lacrosse)

Paul Mengold Outstanding Leadership Award – Ribecka Marchitto

Albert J. Seymour Memorial Award – Sophia Swift [Unsung Hero] Basketball

Albert J. Seymour Memorial Award – Max Dempsey [Unsung Hero] Diving

Thomas G. Laugeni Memorial Award – Jillian Ciccarelli (Softball)

Thomas G. Laugeni Memorial Award – Jacob Silbert (Baseball)

Steven J Zeider Memorial Swimming Award – Max Dempsey

James Dunleavy Memorial Hockey Award – Dylan Raver

Mark E. Greco Memorial Hockey Award – Justin Miller

Jeremy Saxe Memorial Scholarship – Dane DeYoung

Thomas J. Ross Memorial Manager Award – Benjamin Martin (Baseball)

Director of Athletics Recognition Award – Benjamin Martin (Provided Livestreaming)

Athlete of the Year Award – Male – Julian “JuJu” Stevens (Baseball)

Athlete of the Year Award – Female – Payton Rahn (Field Hockey)

Amity Coaches Association Awards:

Coach of the Year Award – AJ Raccio (Undefeated, SCC Champ Boys Lax)

Assistant Coach of the Year Award – Patricia Salvatti (Field Hockey)

Outstanding Service Award – Athletic Trainer Kimberly Pearce

Booster Club Service Award – None

Booster Club President Award – None

Retired Coaches – None

 

65th Annual Block A Awards Presented

 Amity High School, Around Town, Home, Latest News, School News, Sports  Comments Off on 65th Annual Block A Awards Presented
Jun 152021
 

After a disappointing 2019-2020 school year for high school athletes, when the Annual Block A Award Ceremony took place virtually and winners had to wait until their drive-thru graduation to receive their plaques and trophies, This year’s modified in-person event was a breath of fresh air.

Although there was no dinner, and everyone still had to wear face masks, at least the Amity Athletes had the experience of hearing their names and receiving their awards directly from their coaches in front of their peers and parents.

The ceremony took place in the Amity auditorium on Sunday, June 13, at 5 p.m. For anyone who couldn’t make it, or didn’t have an invitation, the event was live-streamed and is now available to anyone on YouTube.

Athletic Director Ernie Goodwin hosted the event.

Here are the 2020-2021 MVPs

* = not present, no photo

Baseball – McAllister (Mac) Burke

Boys Basketball – Micah Morgan

Girls Basketball – Mya Manzione

Cheerleading – Emily Martocchio

Dance – Ella Benjamin

Boys Cross Country – Mason Beaudette

Girls Cross Country – Ariana Garay

Field Hockey – Payton Rahn

Football – No Season

Boys Golf – Brett Chodos

Girls Golf – Ava Gross

Boys Ice Hockey – Justin Miller

Girls Ice Hockey – Caroline Cadelina

Boys Indoor Track & Field – Philip London

Girls Indoor Track & Field – Abigail (Abby) Ball

Boys Lacrosse – John Coughlin (Middie)

Girls Lacrosse – Payton Rahn (goalie)

Boys Ski Racing – Evan Jurzyk

Girls Ski Racing – Madeline Key

Boys Soccer – Arian Bobi*

Girls Soccer – Audrey Marin

Softball – Juliette Zito

Boys Swimming & Diving – Seamus Hennesy

Girls Swimming & Diving – Natalie Carrington

Boys Tennis – Nishaan Patel*

Girls Tennis – Sydney Pitter*

Boys Track & Field – Mason Beaudette

Girls Track & Field – Emily Zielinski

Boys Volleyball – Theodore (Theo) Zaharewicz*

Girls Volleyball – Zoe Dizenzo*

Wrestling – No Season

JuJu’s Choice: Major League Baseball Or Full Ride College Scholarship?

 Amity High School, Around Town, Home, Latest News, School News, Sports  Comments Off on JuJu’s Choice: Major League Baseball Or Full Ride College Scholarship?
Jun 142021
 

The last time I can remember major league baseball scouts clamoring to see an Amity Baseball phenomenon was back in 2018 when catcher Pat Winkel graced the Amity field.

Winkel had it all, he could catch, throw, bat, and run like the wind.

Coach Sal Coppola was by his side when they got the call, the New York Yankees had picked Winkel in the draft. He wasn’t chosen in the early rounds, from what I understand, because the Yanks knew Winkel was going to choose college and playing baseball with his brother Chris, at UCONN over the major leagues. But they wanted him to know that he was wanted.

This year, even with the shortened season and crazy restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, another Amity player with the same skills and character as Winkel caught the attention of spectators and scouts.

Coppola’s phone rang, and although he didn’t know if it would be the Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers, Royals, or any of the other desirable top teams, this call was from the San Diego Padres, and they are interested in Julian “JuJu” Stevens.

After Sunday’s Block A Sports Award Ceremony I asked Julian, this year’s Athlete of the Year if he’d choose the Major Leagues or College.

“I still have time to decide,” he said, “but I’ll let everyone know what I’m doing.”

This young man is as polite and soft-spoken as he is talented. Whatever he chooses to do, I know he will come out on top. He is so smart and has the support of his family, coach, team, and friends.

I wish him all the best now and in the future.

Best Of The Best Student Athletes Honored Today

 Amity High School, Around Town, Home, Latest News, School News, Sports, Today's Events  Comments Off on Best Of The Best Student Athletes Honored Today
Jun 132021
 

A shot from the last actual Block A Dinner in 2019. (Mark Greco Memorial Hockey Award)

Every year exemplary student-athletes are honored at the BLOCK A Ceremony. 

Normally, the event includes a dinner, but with COVID restrictions just recently being lifted, this year’s 65th Annual Awards will be distributed in the Amity High School Auditorium.

Last year, sadly, because of the pandemic, the BLOCK A Awards was a virtual event, and the recipients received their trophies and plaques during the graduation procession — It was pretty much a drive-thru commencement that took place over a number of days. Athletic Director Ernie Goodwin was the last stop before the graduates were announced and got their diplomas.

I am so happy that these hard-working athletes will be given a proper ceremony this year.

This is an invitation-only event.

Orange Live will post a list of all of the winners and their photos by tomorrow morning. 

 

 

Jun 022021
 

The Amity Varsity Sports Season is drawing to a close with a few more games and the CIAC Championship meets and games.

We wish our Spartans and Lady Spartans all the best as they battle to stay on top and come home with the title.

Wednesday, June 2

Girls Tennis vs New Canaan HOME at Amity Tennis Courts at 3 p.m.

Softball vs Newtown HOME at Amity at 4 p.m.

Boys Lacrosse vs Xavier HOME at Amity Field 3 at 4:30 p.m.

Boys Volleyball vs Trumbull AWAY at Trumbull High School at 5 p.m.

Next Week

Monday, June 7

Boys Golf CIAC Div1 Golf Championship AWAY Tallwood CC at 8 a.m.

Wednesday, June 9

Girls Golf CIAC Div1 Golf Championship AWAY Grassy Hill CC at 8:30 a.m.

Boys Outdoor Track CIAC Open Boys Outdoor Track Championship AWAY Willow Brook Park at 1:30 p.m.

Girls Outdoor Track CIAC Open Girls Outdoor Track Championship AWAY Willow Brook Park at 1:30 p.m.

Saturday, June 12

Boys Golf CIAC State Open Golf Championship AWAY Black Hall Club at 1 p.m.

Girls Golf CIAC State Open Golf Championship AWAY Black Hall Club at 1 p.m.

 

 

Baseball: Amity Shines At Old Tavern Park With Cheshire Shutout

 Amity High School, Around Town, Home, Latest News, School News, Sports  Comments Off on Baseball: Amity Shines At Old Tavern Park With Cheshire Shutout
May 112021
 

Spartans Senior Julian “JuJu” Stevens (18) showed off his talent under the lights at Old Tavern Park in Orange on Monday night when Amity took on the Cheshire Rams.

JuJu went 3-4, getting the game started with a home run in the first inning and again in the fourth.

Early in the game, it was clear that Cheshire had been outmatched, trailing Amity by several runs by the third inning.

Senior Sebastian Holt (23) slammed a three-run homer to end the game 12-0 in just 5 innings.

 

 

 

 

 

The Spartans have had a phenomenal season with only 2 losses, one of those against Daniel Hand on April 19.

On Wednesday, Amity will face off against Hand in Madison at 3:45 p.m. This is an important game, but spectator attendance will be limited.

 

 

 

This Week’s Amity Varsity Sports Schedules May 10-15

 Amity High School, Around Town, Home, Latest News, School News, Sports  Comments Off on This Week’s Amity Varsity Sports Schedules May 10-15
May 092021
 

Following are this week’s Amity Varsity Sports schedules:

Monday, May 10

Boys Golf vs Wilbur Cross AWAY at Alling Memorial Golf Course 2:45 p.m.

Girls Golf vs Mercy AWAY at Lyman Orchards 3:10 p.m.

Boys Tennis vs North Haven AWAY at North Haven Athletic Complex 3:45 p.m.

Girls Tennis vs Foran HOME at Amity High School 3:45 p.m.

Softball vs Lyman Hall HOME at Amity HIgh School 4:15 p.m.

Boys Volleyball vs Cheshire HOME at Amity High School 5:30 p.m.

Boys Lacrosse vs Lyman Hall AWAY at Lyman Hall High School 6 p.m.

Baseball vs Cheshire HOME at Old Tavern Road Complex – Brinley Field 7 p.m.

Tuesday, May 11

Boys Golf vs North Haven AWAY at Tradition Golf Club 3 p.m.

Girls Golf vs Cheshire HOME Race Brook Country Club 3:30 p.m.

Boys Outdoor Track vs Hillhouse HOME at Seymour High School 3:45 p.m.

Girls Outdoor Track vs Hillhouse HOME at Seymour High School 3:45 p.m.

Boys Tennis vs Daniel Hand HOME at Amity High School 3:45 p.m.

Girls Lacrosse vs Lyman Hall AWAY at Lyman Hall 6 p.m.

Wednesday, May 12

Girls Golf vs Lauralton Hall AWAY at Oronoque Country Club 3:30 p.m.

Baseball vs Daniel Hand AWAY at Daniel Hand High School 3:45 p.m.

Boys Tennis vs Fairfield Prep HOME at Amity High School 3:45 p.m

Boys Volleyball vs Xavier AWAY at Xavier 5 p.m.

Thursday, May 13

Boys Golf vs Sheehan AWAY Farms Country Club 2:45 p.m.

Girls Golf vs Daniel Hand HOME at Race Brook Country Club 3:30 p.m.

Girls Tennis vs Daniel Hand AWAY at Poison Middle School, Madison 3:45 p.m.

Softball vs East Haven AWAY at East Haven High School 4 p.m.

Boys Lacrosse vs Trumbull HOME at Amity High School 4 p.m.

Friday, May 14

Baseball vs Wilbur Cross AWAY at Wilbur Cross High School 3:45 p.m.

Boys Tennis vs Xavier AWAY Wesleyan University 3:45 pm.

Girls Tennis vs Guilford HOME at Amity High School 3:45 p.m.

Softball vs Cheshire HOME at Amity High School 4:15 p.m.

Girls Lacrosse vs Jonathan Law AWAY at Jonathan Law 4:30 p.m.

Boys Volleyball vs Norwich Free Academy AWAY at Norwich Free Academy 5:15 p.m.

Saturday, May 15

Boys Lacrosse vs Jonathan Law AWAY at Jonathan Law 12 p.m.