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Senior captain Matt Soloman has parlayed his defensive abilities as a shortstop for the North Haven baseball team into an opportunity to continue his career at the University at Albany. (Photo courtesy of Matt Soloman )
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Matt Soloman has been a fixture at shortstop for the North Haven baseball team throughout the past three seasons. Matt’s also a spark plug at the top of the Indians’ lineup who’s leading the club as a senior captain this spring.
Matt says that he’s been playing baseball for as long as he can remember, following in the footsteps of his father Frank, who competed for Quinnipiac.
“My whole family played baseball,” says Matt. “My dad played in college at Quinnipiac and has always been an inspiration.”
Matt has manned the shortstop spot since he started playing baseball. Matt always thought that he’d be a third baseman like his dad, but he quickly found that being a shortstop fit him like a glove.
“When I was in T-ball, one of my coaches thought I would be better at short and stuck me there. I liked it. It’s one of those positions where you have to be a leader and take control of the field,” Matt says. “It’s hard to play, so the challenge is always fun. I think being expected to lead and to be responsible for a lot of aspects of the game is always a fun thing.”
Matt feels that his defensive skills are his greatest asset on the diamond. He’s spent a lot of hours working on his craft as a shortstop.
“My defense has been my key strength throughout my whole life. I recently heavily started working on my hitting to get better, but defense has always just been natural to me,” Matt says. “It’s always been one of those things where I never get tired of taking ground balls. As a kid, I always loved running and catching balls. I just like practicing in general.”
Head Coach Bob DeMayo puts Matt in the conversation as one of best shortstops to ever wear the Indians’ uniform. DeMayo was amazed by a play that Matt made in a recent victory versus Hand.
“Defensively, he probably ranks up there as one of the top shortstops that I’ve ever coached as far as skill is concerned, and that’s a lot of really good shortstops. He’s got the game, he’s got the speed, he has all the tools,” Coach DeMayo says. “He’s a very talented infielder. He made a play in our Hand game that would’ve been on the ESPN Top 10. He made a diving catch on a line drive and had the sense to turn and double the runner off of first base. It was really an outstanding play.”
While Matt has never considered hitting his biggest strength, he’s doing a fine job batting out of the leadoff spot for North Haven. Matt likes setting the tone for a game as the first person who steps up to the plate.
“I like it a lot. People don’t like it, because you’re seeing the pitcher first, but I think it’s fun to lead off the game with a hit,” says Matt. “A majority of my hits come in the first two-to-three pitches, so I like being aggressive and sparking the team. I think it’s fun spot to be in, plus you get more at-bats.”
Matt is serving as one of North Haven’s captains this season, but he doesn’t like to put himself on a pedestal. Matt leads the Indians by making sure that all of his teammates are getting the most out of their experience.
“I do like being a brother to my teammates. I don’t want to stand out as an authority,” Matt says. “It’s nice to be looked up to, but I like to see everyone on our team succeed, because it’s always fun to win.”
Matt recently signed on to play Division I baseball at the University at Albany. Although he had some other schools looking at him, Matt believes that going to Albany gives him the best chance to immediately get on the collegiate field.
“I wanted to play for four years and have the best opportunity to go higher. I didn’t see a point in going somewhere to sit on the bench and wait to play until my junior and senior year,” Matt says. “I was open to every school and never declined anyone, but I found Albany was my best choice.”
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