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Gianni DiMartino played a key role as a utility man for the Indians’ baseball squad this spring and then did double duty by suiting up for North Haven’s Senior and Junior American Legion baseball teams in the summer. Photo courtesy of Gianni DiMartino

Gianni DiMartino played a key role as a utility man for the Indians’ baseball squad this spring and then did double duty by suiting up for North Haven’s Senior and Junior American Legion baseball teams in the summer. (Photo courtesy of Gianni DiMartino )

DiMartino Cherishes Playing Baseball in North Haven

Published Aug 30, 2018 • Last Updated 12:26 pm, August 30, 2018

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Gianni DiMartino grew up playing baseball for a variety of teams, before moving to North Haven for his sophomore year of high school. Gianni’s years of experience helped him earn a spot with the Indians’ varsity squad this spring, after which he made a name for himself in North Haven’s American Legion program during the summer. Gianni hopes to continue contributing for both of these programs as he enters his senior year at North Haven High School.

Gianni spent several years playing in the Annex YMA Little League while growing up in East Haven. When he reached the big diamond, Gianni joined the AAU ranks as a member of the Connecticut Grind and also played freshman baseball for the Yellowjackets. The following season, Gianni came to North Haven with his sights set on competing for Head Coach Bob DeMayo’s squad at the high school.

“To be honest, it was great. Since my dad’s [Chris Mineri] family all lived here, I already knew so many people from North Haven,” says Gianni. “Then I got to meet Coach DeMayo, and playing for him is such a blessing because of how long he’s been around.”

Gianni changed his summer schedule when he started playing baseball in town. After having previously competed for the Grind—a team with which he finished in fifth place in a tournament at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports—Gianni decided that he wanted to sign up for North Haven’s American Legion program. Gianni saw time with Post 76’s Senior and Junior Legion clubs this summer.

“[Senior Legion Head Coach Tim Binkoski] really convinced me to play Legion baseball, because he knew I’d be in a big role on the varsity baseball team,” Gianni says. “North Haven has a big baseball tradition of everyone staying together. He helped me get into school and really helped me with my mechanics.”

Gianni played for North Haven’s JV squad throughout his sophomore season at the high school. As a junior this year, he made the varsity roster and impressed Coach DeMayo with how he performed as a utility player.

“Gianni is a great teammate. He is there all the time and willing to do anything. I know he certainly wanted to play more, but I had some kids that were doing well at the time, so he was our 10th man, a pinch hitter,” says DeMayo. “When he got a chance, he played well. I’m hoping he can fit into the infield somewhere, maybe the outfield, but he’ll find a place. He’s that type of kid you want on your team and put a bat in his hands, because he’s a tough out. With what he showed me, he’ll play somewhere.”

Just like anyone else, Gianni wants to see as much time as possible on the field. However, Gianni made the most of his role this year and was pleased to help the Indians continue their long line of winning seasons.

“Even though I didn’t play that much this year, I still had a big role with the team because coach used me in a lot of pinch-hitting opportunities,” says Gianni. “Whenever somebody needed to be replaced, I filled that spot. I was in that role.”

Gianni is hoping to earn himself a spot at either second or third base as a senior next spring. He primarily played those positions for his Legion teams throughout the recent summer season. Much like the high-school squad, North Haven’s Senior and Junior Legion teams racked up their fair share of victories, including a few in the State Tournament, this year.

“I feel like you’re more into the game when you’re in the infield,” Gianni says. “I make the routine plays, and I always work hard so I can make the hard plays look routine, as well.”

Heading into his senior year, Gianni has already committed to play baseball beyond high school. Gianni will continue his career at Division III Nichols College in Dudley, Massachusetts.

“Looking at schools for the past couple of years, I just had the opportunity at Nichols and [Head Coach Nick Puccio] gave me an offer I couldn’t resist,” says Gianni. “It’s a great school, but it was so hard, because every day you had to work as hard as you could to get into a school to play and further your career.”

Gianni is looking forward to playing baseball in college. Still, Gianni knows that there is some unfinished business that he and his teammates need to attend to, before he graduates from North Haven.

“My goal for this year is hopefully everybody’s goal,” Gianni says. “I want to bring a state championship home to our town.”

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