April weather has interrupted a number of games so far in the local spring schedule, but when the sun does shine, so do a number of athletes who have given their coaches plenty of reasons to be impressed.
Though the weather has been inconsistent, the same can’t be said for Berlin’ Jon Trevethan and Goodwin Tech’s Val Ramirez, who are this week’s New Britain Herald Athletes of the Week.
The Berlin boys tennis team is current laboring through an 0-4 start after a 6-1 loss to Southington last week, but the Redcoats’ early-season struggles have nothing to do with their star senior Trevethan. The Roger William University commit enjoyed another flawless week, winning each of his sets 6-0 to give Berlin its lone win of the day against the Blue Knights after winning his match 6-0, 6-0 the day before against Bristol Eastern.
Trevethan’s performance unfairly seems less remarkable than it should, but only because he’s made a habit of such performances. The team’s No. 1 singles player has now won every regular season set dating back to 2017, which helps Trevethan keep his sights set playing well in the match at the time, rather than looking ahead to postseason play.
“I don’t want to lose focus at all,” Trevethan said. “That could hurt me in states. The streak helps me stay on task and keep playing hard.”
Trevethan admits his perfect streak is something he takes pride in and wants to keep alive, which is why he entered Thursday’s match against Southington with a heightened sense of urgency, knowing he was facing one of his toughest opponents so far in Southington’s Matt Balaoing, an all-conference winner last year.
“I just wanted to come in and focus on my game,” Trevethan said. “I knew if I played well I would be OK.”
Trevethan was more than OK, sweeping away Balaoing like he has every other opponent this season, which comes as no surprise to his teammates and coaches.
“Trevethan never loses,” first-year head coach Mike Flannery said. “He’s our spark.”
The Redcoats have had trouble putting together team wins this season, but they can take a sense of comfort in knowing they will seemingly always have at least one win per match to set the tone for the rest of the group. In his last year at Berlin, Trevethan is providing valuable leadership to an otherwise young and inexperienced group that is able to watch sustained success each match when they look over at Trevethan’s court.
“He’s quite a leader,” Flannery said. “They all look up to him. I’m fortunate he’s playing for us.”
While the Redcoats are looking up to Trevethan, the undefeated senior is looking ahead to repeat his position as state champion, though that sometimes comes as a challenge since tournament play is still over a month away. With an added incentive to keep his flawless set streak alive, Trevethan has another reason to keep his mind from straying toward the bigger matches to come.
“The regular season is long, but I try to stay as focused as possible,” Trevethan said.
Given his current record, Trevethan’s focus seems to be sharp.
Trevethan’s red-hot start to the season felt like an inevitable occurrence given his talent and track record, but Goodwin Tech softball pitcher Ramirez had more uncertainty entering the Gladiators’ new season, especially after the junior suffered a torn ACL during summer ball.
So far, Ramirez has shown her coaches and teammates that not only has she recovered from her scary injury, but has gotten even better in the circle and at the plate.
“She’s come back stronger this year and smarter as an athlete,” Goodwin Tech head coach Loren Rozanski said. “Junior year felt like it was going to be a big year for her, and she didn’t disappoint, even with a pretty serious injury over the summer.”
Ramirez spent much of the fall and winter rehabbing her ACL, which also included changing the mechanics that had become second nature to her.
“She’s been working on learning a new way to pitch and using different muscle groups in her leg,” Rozanski said. “That’s been her big focus.”
Whatever new way of pitching it is, it seems to be working, as the Gladiators’ ace has helped Goodwin Tech to a 6-2 record, with the team’s most recent victory coming in a 14-3 blowout of Vinal Tech on Friday. Ramirez allowed just three runs in that win, tossing a complete game while striking 14 Vinal Tech batters, who entered the game having scored 28 runs in each of its last three games.
That was only half of Ramirez’s contribution to the win, as she also picked up two hits and drove in two runs. Earlier in the year, she earned a win in the circle while drilling a home run at the plate against Kaynor Tech.
“She’s always been strong at the plate,” Rozanski said. “It’s nice to have someone who can play two positions so well.”
Ramirez still uses a pinch runner due to her ACL surgery, but aside from that, it’s impossible to tell that she suffered a tough injury just months ago, as the two-way star has accumulated 54 strikeouts in 31 innings pitched, while posting an eye-opening 1.876 OPS at the plate.
Ryan Chichester can be reached at (860) 801-5094 or firstname.lastname@example.org