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East Haven’s Amato Civitello, 12, earned the opportunity to develop his skills on the diamond as a member of the USA Baseball North team this summer. (Photo courtesy of Pete Civitello )
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East Haven resident Amato Civitello experienced the opportunity of a lifetime this summer as a result of his hard work and dedication to baseball. Amato earned the chance to play baseball against some of the best 12 year-olds in the country at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina.
After a few rigorous rounds of tryouts, Amato advanced all the way to the final stage and suited up for the USA Baseball North team in North Carolina, where a total of 175 players from all across the country made the cut. Amato’s journey started with a pair of tryouts in East Hartford, after which he received the call that presented him with the opportunity to represent the region.
“It made me very proud of myself, showing all my hard work paid off and getting to play for USA Baseball Team North,” says Amato. “Even though I didn’t make it [to the national team] this year, I’m looking forward to working hard to get better and make it again.”
The summer program at the USA Baseball training grounds included a week of skills testing and practices, followed by a four-game schedule. While Amato wasn’t able to make the final roster for the U-13 team, the experience of competing with the top players in the country was a huge honor for him.
“This summer at USA Baseball, I made a lot of new friends. I have to keep working hard to achieve my goals,” Amato says. “As I get older, I like to play against tougher competition. Good competition makes you better. I’d like to try out for more things and get more involved with traveling the country. I like playing travel ball, because you’re not just playing kids from your town. Playing kids around the country makes me better.”
On the local level, Amato trains at Northeast Clutch Baseball in East Haven. The facility is run by Paul Carangelo and Amato’s father Pete Civitello. Carangelo says that Amato is a special breed of ballplayer for someone his age.
“Amato comes down to the field to be the best. No matter what, he wants to be better than every kid out there, and that drive is something you can’t teach. He just has it,” says Carangelo. “Amato will help any team become a winning team. That’s the type of kid he is. The attitude he has, he shows it every time he steps on the field. It’s tough to get a kid like that, so when you do get one, you cherish him and hope to guide him in the right direction.”
Amato has the ability to play anywhere on the diamond. His primary spot is shortstop.
“Shortstop is my favorite position. I like being in the action,” Amato says. “I like playing shortstop, because I have a good arm. My best thing is my fielding, because I have good hands and good speed, which helps me cover a lot of ground.”
Amato is also a pitcher who features five offerings in his repertoire. Amato throws a four-seam fastball and a two-seam fastball, along with a cutter, a slider, and a curveball.
“I’ve been pitching since I’ve been eight years old. I’ve had the curveball for a long time, but our baseball team got a new pitching coach in Ed Sempey, who helped with the slider and cutter,” says Amato. “I’m pretty confident [throwing all pitches], because I work on them a lot during bullpen sessions.”
Amato wants to continue playing baseball at least through college. Amato knows that if he keeps putting in the work, he will increase his chances of achieving that goal.
“I want to play at a nice high school, win a state championship, and go to a good college, hopefully Division I,” Amato says. “I’d like to get a scholarship.”
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