BRISTOL - Every day Matt Bonvicini arrives at Muzzy Field the Bristol Blues first baseman focuses on ways to improve his hitting. It has certainly been working.
While hitters such as Ian Ostberg and Richard Brereton have gotten much of the attention, Bonvicini has proven himself to be the team’s most consistent hitter despite not having much college experience.
After only getting 10 at-bats as a freshman at UConn, Bonvicini has had the chance to show what he can do for Bristol. In 22 games this summer, the first baseman has tallied 20 hits for a .286 average, the fifth-highest on the Blues. He also has one home run and driven in a team-leading 15 RBI.
“It meant a lot to me the faith Coach showed in me,” Bonvicini said of Blues manager Ronnie Palmer. “I started the season pretty slow. But he continued to play me and I worked my way out of the slump early on. Since then, I’ve been able to build on it and get in a groove.”
Currently, he ranks in the top-five on the team in average, hits, RBI, doubles (3), walks (14) and his 16 strikeouts are the third fewest of Blues hitters who have at least 70 at-bats.
“We’ve put him in the middle of the lineup and it seems like he comes through whenever we need him to,” Palmer said. “He drives in runs in every spot. He has this approach every game and every at-bat where he doesn’t let anything get to him. So if he does have a bad AB, he lets it go and focuses on the next.”
Bonvicini’s offensive production has gone up to another level the last couple weeks. He has reached base in each of the team’s last seven games and 13 of the last 14 games overall.
“I think the coolest part isn’t even the fact that I’m doing well, when I get back to the dugout, all of those guys are fired up for me,” Bonvicini said. “And that makes me really want to come to the park every day and play with them.”
Not only has Bonvicini been key from the batter’s box, but from the field as well. In 169 innings at first base, he has made just two errors and is third in the Futures League with 142 putouts.
“He’s got a good feel around first base,” Palmer said. “Whenever you have a good first baseman, it brings up the entire infield and makes the other guys better. It’s a comfort for us.”
With the Blues gearing up for the last month of the season, Bonvicini will continue to play a pivotal role in the team’s success down the stretch.
“For me, the mentality doesn’t change,” Bonvicini said. “It’s just simply to attack and try to get as much as I can out of every moment. I want the rest of the team to trust me to get the job done the way I trust each and every one of them.”