Baseball: Freshman has high hopes and even bigger expectations

Ronnie Rossomando certainly has a lot going for him. A 6-foot-5-inch, 220-pound freshman out of Bunnell High School in Stratford, Connecticut, he was the 2013-14 Gatorade State Baseball Player of the Year. Just hours before he was scheduled to pitch in a Class L state semifinal game in 2015, he was drafted 836th overall in the first year player draft by the Cincinnati Reds. He was named preseason first team All-Region by Perfect Game USA in 2015.

Now, amidst the whirlwind of beginning his collegiate career with expectations higher than ever, Rossomando finds comfort in knowing that one thing will never change: the roots for his love for the game.

“A lot of my family and friends played baseball. My dad was a big baseball fan, so that’s how I got into it,” Rossomando said. “At a young age, I fell in love with the ball hitting the mitt, and all of that took care of itself.”

The ball hitting the mitt was something that he was to get used to. Around age 11, Rossomando realized that he wanted to focus on becoming a pitcher. It wasn’t enough that he was throwing almost 84 mph when he was 14; the thought of being spotlight, the “main attraction”, and becoming a greater presence on the mound as he got older were things that kept him at the position for good.

I think just being able to be in a routine, having [the coaches] almost be like father figures, step by step being there, I think that everything else will take care of itself.
— Ronnie Rassomando

Growing up as a fan of the New York Yankees, the rivalry between his favorite team and the Boston Red Sox was something of an adrenaline rush to watch during the 2000s—after all, the rivalry has been on the decline ever since the Yankees were world champions in 2009. It was from that rivalry where something—or someone—solidified Rossomando’s interest in becoming a pitcher.

“Weird, but my favorite player of all-time is Pedro Martinez,” Rossomando said with a laugh.

Although Martinez was public enemy number one in the eyes of Yankee fans, Rossomando couldn’t help but draw inspiration from the way he played the game.

“I always liked how cocky he was; how confident he was on the mound. I always liked how he pitched and how he was able to be prepared for every single game,” Rossomando said.

It is that preparedness that Rossomando admires most about himself. In a game where mentality and presence is key, being able to calm down in the moment and be both mentally and physically prepared is something that Rossomondo claims to be unique about himself with high regards.

Especially when you get drafted by a major league team minutes before you walk out the door to pitch in a semifinal game.

“It was tough going through the season having it in the back of my mind at points,” Rossomando said of being drafted by the Reds in June of 2015. “There were a lot of emotions, but it was a really cool experience.”

The excitement will certainly not stop there. Rossomando declined to sign with the Reds, instead, he accepted a scholarship to attend UConn.

An electrifying, powerful fastball headlines the show for Rossomando. His specialty is attacking the zone, not afraid to go after a batter in a hitter’s count. His confidence, not only with his power pitches but in his offspeed stuff as well, stems from his ability to locate the ball with poise like that of a major league pitcher.

His command skill is, in Rossomando’s opinion, his best attribute. While he believes that his command is something that sets him apart, he still has ways to go when it comes to controlling his offspeed pitches, especially his changeup, which he believes to be the pitch that is the most underdeveloped.

In that regard, choosing to play at UConn was a no-brainer.

“I think just being able to be in a routine, having [the coaches] almost be like father figures, step by step being there, I think that everything else will take care of itself,” Rassomando said.

The transition wasn’t easy. Time management was an essential, especially when things began to ramp up on the diamond and in the classroom. But even outside of the realm of baseball, beyond the life of balancing schoolwork and sport, Rassomando is able to find something special in UConn’s program; the very thing that has kept him grounded since the beginning, and the one thing that will continue to do so throughout his career.

“Coach Penders and the coaching staff really bring, like, a sense of family to me,” Rossomando said. “I really love the way they love the game of baseball too.” 


Stephanie Sheehan is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at stephanie.sheehan@uconn.edu