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On the heels of a great baseball career in East Haven, Steve Mingione is gearing up to play for American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts. (Photo courtesy of Steve Mingione )
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Steve Mingione has always been comfortable on the baseball diamond, but this summer, he stepped on to a new field by playing for the East Haven Senior American Legion baseball team. After years of playing AAU ball and for some other summer clubs, Steve had the opportunity to join his friends from East Haven on the 89ers.
“This summer was my last chance to play with all my friends before I go away to college,” Steve says. “Being that this was my first summer playing Legion ball, I finally got to spend the summer playing alongside my high school teammates.”
Even though the 89ers saw some struggles on the field, Steve says that it was a special experience to play baseball with a group of teammates who mean so much to him.
“My coaches made it really enjoyable,” says Steve. “Our record wasn’t great, but we stuck together, had fun, and got the chance to play a sport we love.”
Steve played baseball and football at East Haven High School, leading both teams as a senior captain before graduating this year. Steve feels that he’s grown a lot as both an athlete and a person during that time.
“I have learned a lot about myself by taking on new responsibilities,” Steve says. “This year, I was fortunate enough to captain both football and baseball, so I have learned to not only take on more responsibility, but to hold my teammates accountable and take on more of a leadership role.”
East Haven Senior Legion Head Coach Chuck Hinckley says that Steve made a big impact for his team and was an easy person to work with.
“He’s a powerful lefty who could always be in the middle of our lineup and a cornerstone at first base,” says Hinckley.
This fall, Steve will begin a new chapter when he attends American International College (AIC) in Springfield, Massachusetts, where he will play baseball at the Division II level.
“I’m extremely thankful for the chance to go to school to get an education and be able to participate in the game I love,” Steve says. “I’m excited for the new opportunity and can’t wait to get started.”
Steve always felt a positive vibe while playing baseball in East Haven. Steve believes that he is going to fit right in to a similar community at AIC.
“The coaches have been in contact with me throughout the summer, checking in to make sure I’m doing well on and off the field,” says Steve.
Coach Hinckley feels confident that Steve will make a smooth transition to the collegiate circuit.
“He is a very dedicated individual who works hard and is ready for the next level of baseball,” Hinckley says.
Getting to the chance to play college baseball isn’t something that is gifted overnight. Steve recognizes a few individuals who have been critical to his development as player, including his father.
“My father for sure has been someone who has always been pushing me to give my best effort and helping me to grow as a player,” says Steve. “Him staying on top of me pushed me to go above and beyond and put me into the position I am today.”
Steve also gives credit to his former AAU coach Dante Palazzo, along with his coaches in East Haven, including Yellowjackets’ skipper Butch Johnson.
“Coach Palazzo was someone who helped me to learn the game on a deeper level and truly understand how I could get better and become the player I am today,” Steve says. “My family has always supported me, and I also want to thank Coach Hinckley, Coach Johnson, and all of the coaches at East Haven High School and East Haven Senior American Legion.”
In addition to competing for the 89ers, Steve also enjoyed playing for the Yellowjackets at the high school throughout the past few years. In his junior season, Steve went deep in a game versus Xavier.
“This summer, just getting the chance to play one last time with all of my friends is always something I will remember,” says Steve. “As for my time at East Haven, definitely the moment that stands out is when I hit my first and only high school home run against Xavier during my junior year.”
As he heads off to college, Steve feels thankful for all the support that he’s received while playing baseball in his hometown.
“I had a really fun time throughout,” Steve says. “And I am looking forward to moving on and seeing what the future holds for me.”
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