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08/10/2022 10:43 AM

Acampora Always Puts His Team First

Anthony Acampora put together a solid senior season with the North Haven baseball team this spring, posting a .283 batting average as the starting catcher for the Oronoque Division champion Nighthawks. Photo courtesy of Anthony Acampora

It can be difficult to lead a high school baseball team through a busy spring season. It’s quite often a challenge that requires a leader who is willing to put their team ahead of themselves. This year, the North Haven baseball team featured an athlete who did exactly that in senior Anthony Acampora.

Anthony proved a complete team player who guided the Nighthawks through the 2022 campaign. North Haven finished the spring season with 9 victories and went on a run down the stretch to win the SCC Oronoque Division title, qualifying for both SCCs and states in the process.

Anthony set a goal to become a solid high school ballplayer when he first set foot in the North Haven dugout. He wanted to helped the Nighthawks succeed by being a clutch hitter. Anthony also wanted to make sure that he was supporting his teammates as best he could. Right away, Anthony did everything possible to make a positive impact on his North Haven cohorts.

“I wanted to mainly focus on supporting my teammates and putting them before myself or anyone else. I just wanted to be more of a team guy,” says Anthony. “It made me friends that I’m never going to lose, and it helped other guys get through either a bad hitting slump or fielding slump.”

After playing travel baseball for several years, Anthony was excited to be the latest member of the Acampora family to work with North Haven Head Coach Bob DeMayo. Coach DeMayo, who was in his 64th season as the Nighthawks’ skipper this year, had previously coached Anthony’s grandfather George Giannotti, his father Benny, and his brother Michael. Anthony felt honored to carry on his family’s legacy in the North Haven baseball program.

Anthony appreciates all of the support that he received from his coaches during his journey with the Nighthawks. DeMayo’s coaching style helped Anthony focus more on the smaller details of the game. Anthony says that the guidance of his coaches put him in a great position to thrive on the North Haven diamond.

“All of the coaches would prepare you for what you need at the next level. They would help you along the way if you needed help,” Anthony says. “Everyone was really supportive.”

Anthony transitioned from being a designated hitter to the Nighthawks’ starting catcher as his senior season unfolded. Mostly known for his bat, Anthony also proved a boon for North Haven with his play behind the plate. Coach DeMayo says that Anthony’s team-first demeanor helped the recent graduate succeed on the field.

“Anthony was a clutch hitter, and he learned to be a better-than-adequate catcher,” says DeMayo. “This kid was an unbelievable hustler and team player.”

DeMayo remembers one practice where he was giving his players some tips for baserunning, specifically in terms sliding into first base when appropriate. After DeMayo challenged his players to do so, Anthony was the first one to get his uniform dirty by sliding into first base full of steam. DeMayo felt that Anthony’s eagerness in that situation exemplified his character as a Nighthawks’ ballplayer.

Anthony finished his senior year with a .283 batting average, a .433 on-base percentage, and 16 RBI. As the regular season was winding down, Anthony and the Nighthawks won a few key games to clinch the SCC Oronoque Division title. North Haven went on to take first-round losses in the SCC Tournament and the Class L State Tournament, but Anthony will always cherish the memories that he made with his teammates as the Nighthawks grinded their way into the playoffs.

“Even though we got knocked out, during the bus ride home, we were all still supporting each other and thanking each other,” Anthony says. “It was really just nice to see the whole team come together and help each other out.”

As a true team player, Anthony had no issues jelling with his fellow Nighthawks. The bonds that Anthony formed with his teammates and the commitment that they all made to each other were hugely beneficial for North Haven in 2022.

“The lessons I learned are trust your coaching staff and also trust your teammates. You should just be able to bond with them, too. I’m going to miss the whole team in general,” says Anthony. “That was a great group of guys we played with the past two years. I wouldn’t want anyone else there besides them.”

Anthony has had plenty of supporters in his corner throughout his baseball career. Anthony has always been motivated to play his best for his teammates and family, specifically his mother Gina, while adding another chapter to the Acampora baseball legacy.

“What motivates me is seeing my teammates succeed, and my mother, too. She has Alzheimer’s, so I play for her, as well,” Anthony says. “If I’m ever going through a dry sprout, I just think about either of those things and how they would want me to keep pushing to get that hit or do better in general.”

On the heels of his North Haven baseball career, Anthony will soon be lacing up the cleats at Albertus Magnus College. Anthony, who will be studying criminal justice, is excited to play at the next level while creating relationships with a new group of teammates and coaches. As he looks ahead to the next step of life, Anthony is savoring everything that he experienced during his final ride with the Nighthawks.

“I wanted to focus on just having a good time with my guys with our last year of playing North Haven baseball,” says Anthony. “Those are memories you’re never going to forget. I just wanted to make them good ones.”