BRISTOL - The Bristol Blues have a few big bats in their lineup and one of them is a player with local roots.
Plantsville’s Liam Scafariello is in his second stint with the Blues in as many summers and his power has been a welcomed addition to the Bristol lineup.
“He’s been in the six hole lately,” Blues manager Pat Riley said. “Extra-base hits, that’s what we need. He’s a presence in the lineup.”
Scafariello, who has split field time between first base and the outfield, is batting .245 for the Blues through 20 games played and has shown off his strength at the plate. He is second on the team with two home runs, just one dinger behind outfielder Frankie Gregoire. He is also one of only three Blues players who have at least one double, one triple and one home run.
“It’s huge,” Scafariello said about what his bat means to the team. “It’s just a weapon to have in the lineup.”
Listed at 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds, Scafariello is a daunting presence when he steps up to the plate and the fact that he has the ability to hit the ball out of a field as big as Muzzy Field only adds to it.
“He’s a big-bodied kid,” Riley said. “I’m not going to say he intimidates pitchers but he’s a big guy. He’s obviously got some serious pop in the bat.”
For a guy as big as Scafariello, most people do not expect much speed. But Scafariello has broken that mold.
“That’s probably his best underlying trait that people don’t talk about but we as the coaches recognize it,” Riley said about Scafariello’s speed. “Some pitchers or squads might see that big guy on the base and kind of write him off a little bit but he can move. He can run the bases and he’s a threat to steal.”
On the season, Scafariello has one triple and has stolen four bases, a strategy usually reserved for smaller players. For Scafariello, it is entertaining to see the reactions of the opposing players when they realize how fast he is.
“It’s huge because it’s an extra base,” he said. “I like it because no one really knows and then it’s like, ‘Oh boy! Get the ball in!’ It’s just a good thing to have.”
Just like his size and power combine to make him intimidating at the plate, his speed combines with his power to make him a headache on the base paths. He is able to extend singles and doubles into doubles and triples.
“Combining [his speed] with what he can do offensively, he has the makings of being a really good baseball player,” Riley said.
Being from Plantsville and a graduate of Southington High School, Scafariello really likes being able to play for the Blues.
“Awesome,” he said. “[I’m] 10 minutes from home. I get to live at home. My family gets to come and watch me every night and play. It’s just fun.”
While he has been strong for the Blues this summer since coming on in the second week of the season, the Blues still believe he can get much better. Scafariello has struck out 23 times in 20 games and has hit in streaks. If he can develop some consistency, the sky is the limit for him.
“He’s been good,” Riley said. “We’re still counting on him to get even better. He hasn’t even reached what he’s capable of. He’s been solid. He’s always been a solid player. We’re looking for him to get hot and really come into his own and he’s starting to get there.”
The Blues as a team are still attempting to realize their potential so Scafariello is not alone in the locker room. If he can find his rhythm, the rest of the team shouldn’t be far behind and the team is eager to see what Scafariello looks like when he gets there.
“Like I said, he really hasn’t reached at point that he’s capable of yet,” Riley said. “I’m excited to see when that happens.”
Josh Kestenbaum can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org