BRISTOL - Michael Lorenzetti knew he was entering a pivotal year that could have a lasting impact on the trajectory of what he hoped would be a successful baseball career.
Getting set for his junior season with Bristol Central, Lorenzetti was ready to produce in what would be his first full season with the varsity team after making a handful of appearances as a sophomore and leading the junior varsity squad in strikeouts. Lorenzetti had done the same with the freshman team in 2018, and hoped 2020 would be the year he would shine under the varsity spotlight and draw college interest.
That spotlight was quickly turned off by the coronavirus outbreak, which caused spring sports to be canceled entirely and threatened the existence of summer baseball in 2020.
“We were going to have a great team this year,” Lorenzetti said of the Rams’ 2020 team that was never able to take the field. “Coach [Bunty] Ray has a great program and we had a great team. We were going to do some big things this year with our senior class and our pitching staff and covid canceling it was really deflating. But I've always been taught to find the positive and I've been working hard to improve myself and make the most out of this.”
Hoping to create a positive out of an unprecedented situation, Lorenzetti went to work down in his basement in Bristol, hitting the weights for two hours a day in between arm care, as he continued to prepare for a summer season that hung in the balance. As the New England Collegiate Baseball League and the Cape Cod League canceled their seasons, Lorenzetti put on nearly 30 pounds, and by the time his travel baseball season for Team CT Baseball began, Lorenzetti stood on the mound at 6-foot-8, 180 pounds, with a lot more muscle than when he suited up for Central the year before.
“Putting on that weight and all that hard work I put in is showing on the baseball field,” Lorenzetti said. “My coaches notice it, and the teams I play notice it. I'm really trying to make the most of what I've got.”
Lorenzetti certainly made the most of it in his last start for TCB, silencing the Shamrocks of Massachusetts with a complete game performance where he allowed just one earned run and struck out 10, while averaging roughly 85 mph on his fastball. In his first start of the summer, Lorenzetti topped out at 88 mph back when the season started, when the righty made his introduction to a league he had always hoped to be a part of.
“This is my first year in the 18U circuit because my family never really had enough to pay for that until now,” Lorenzetti said. “Now that I have that opportunity, I'm doing everything I can to make the most out of it and get to college.”
The next step for Lorenzetti is to get to a college mound, but his big-picture scope consists of far brighter lights.
“I think that's every player's dream [to play in college], but I have dreams beyond that,” Lorenzetti said. “I want to get drafted soon and I'm going to try and do what's in my best interests to get to that place. Bristol is a very small town and a lot of great talent has come out of Bristol already, but my goal is to show everyone that no matter where you come from or what you do, hard work will always help dreams turn into a reality.”
Lorenzetti’s work could have been diminished by circumstances beyond his control had covid-19 shut down the summer season entirely, but after an initial delay, he is making his mark with TCB and salvaging the few months of baseball that remain as Connecticut eases its way back into a sense of normalcy.
“It's a great feeling,” Lorenzetti said. “Baseball has always been my favorite sport and at first when high school got shut down, I was really hoping summer ball didn't get shut down because this was going to be a big summer for me in terms of college and my recruitment. The class of 2021 hasn't really been in covid's favor, so when I heard I was going to have a summer, I was ecstatic and worked twice as hard.”
The hard work has paid off with interest from colleges like Xavier, Maine and even discussions with UConn. Lorenzetti is inching closer to the next phase of his dream with every blazing fastball, and isn’t letting a pandemic slow him down.
“Having these coaches to talk to every day and having that interest makes me want to work twice as hard,” Lorenzetti said. “They see in me what I see in myself, and it makes me push out that last rep in every set to get the most out of it. It's definitely a blessing to be able to talk to these coaches and have them see what I can do.”
Ryan Chichester can be reached at (860) 801-5094 or firstname.lastname@example.org