BRISTOL - Success has been rewarded by the Bristol Blues this summer and the best example of that is pitcher Sebastian DiMauro.
The junior from the University of Hartford began the summer as a reliever for the Blues, pitching for less than an inning in each of his first two appearances. Now, he is a starter for Bristol as the team attempts to clinch a spot in the playoffs for the second-straight season.
“We’ve got to put together our best lineup and put our best pitchers out there, the ones that have been performing as of late, and I think that’s the case with a lot of people,” Blues manager Pat Riley said. “[DiMauro] has succeeded, and if you can show us you can do a good job, we’re going to put you out there and he’s done that.”
DiMauro’s 2.43 ERA ranks seventh among Blues pitchers and his 34 strikeouts this summer tie him for third on the team with Jared Gallagher. He has a record of 1-2 and picked up two saves during his time in the bullpen.
His first start came on July 23 against the Seacoast Mavericks. He pitched seven innings, his longest outing of the season, giving up four earned runs on eight hits and striking out eight. He picked up the win thanks to his team’s offense, as the Blues scored seven runs to pick up the 7-4 win.
For Riley, the decision to add DiMauro to the starting rotation this late in the season was a no-brainer, especially after his first start.
“He did a really good job of [handling] multiple innings and, obviously, he pitched extremely well in his last start,” Riley said. “He got an opportunity, did well with it and it wasn’t much of a decision after that.”
While the promotions happened gradually throughout the summer, DiMauro is happy they happened, especially because it was his goal.
“To be honest, I always kind of thought this is where I’d end up being,” he said. “I consider myself to be a pretty good arm on the team and I had high hopes for being a big part of this team. I’m glad that I am.”
Climbing the ladder of the pitching staff is not something that is foreign to the Woodbridge native, as he did it this past season at Hartford.
“At school, I’m a two-way. I play outfield and pitch,” DiMauro said. “This year, I started out as a closer and then I became a long-relief guy. [It was] kind of the same thing [as this summer].”
With less than a week remaining in the regular season, the Blues are perhaps in the most precarious place of any FCBL team. Bristol occupies the sixth and final postseason spot and must find success in its final games to solidify its standing, something DiMauro figures to be an integral part of.
“We will use whoever we have to use in whatever situation down the road,” Riley said. “We’re in a tight spot. We’re in a tight race and we’re going to use the guy that gives us the best opportunity to win. Obviously you try to plan out your pitching but this week is going to be different than the entire year. It’s not going to be as much of a set-in-stone type of rotation.
“When guys are available and when we need to win a game, that’s when we’re going to go to who we need to and [DiMauro]’s shown to be one of those guys. Whether it’s starting a game or coming into a game to finish it, the week will play itself out.”
Pitching is going to be vital for the Blues and DiMauro is acutely aware of his importance and what his responsibilities will be when he’s on the mound.
“To keep us in the game, pitchers just have to put up zeros. You’ve got to get guys out and you’ve got to get the hitters motivated to put up runs,” he said. “A lot of the games are sometimes low-scoring games and then every once in a while you’ve got a game where you give up a ton of runs. Sometimes, in the dugout, if you’re losing by a ton of runs, it’s tough to have the energy you need to win. As a pitcher, you just need to work quick and get guys out.”
Josh Kestenbaum can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or jkestenbaum@ centralctcommunications.com