Adam Bitondo, a 2016 North Salem graduate, played third base for the varsity baseball team. He also was on the varsity soccer team and competed on the cross-country squad.
How old were you when you first started playing baseball and how did you get started?
I was 5 years old. My dad played college ball at University of Miami and since then he has always loved and appreciated the game and it got me started on the right track. Without him I never could have learned and improved over the years.
It was an incredible run for the team as you won the first state title in program history. Did you always feel like this team could make a special run this year and what was it like to be a part of it?
To be quite honest, anything beyond a sectional title never crossed our minds. We are a small town with few athletes to choose from. No cuts were made in tryouts in the last few years I played, which illustrates just how much it is encouraged to get out and play. Once we won the sectional title, we knew nothing about the teams we were going to play. From that point on, we decided to just play our game. No words can quite characterize the feelings we experienced in the final two weeks of play. We grew as a team in the final two weeks of the season, with everyone playing unselfish baseball. This year was the most fun I have had playing in all my life.
Offensively, defensively and pitching wise the team seemed to be extremely well-rounded this year. What was the key for the team to be clicking on all cylinders?
The key for our team was to score first. In all of our playoff games except the last, we scored first and had the lead after the first couple of innings. To follow our bats was our biggest strength on the team, our pitching. If our pitchers, especially Connor and Dan, were able to locate their off-speed pitches, they became nearly impossible to hit. Also, since our team bunted and stole a lot, it was important to execute, because even our cleanup man (J.B. Healy) might be called upon to move the guy over. We were also strong up the middle. Besides pitching, Nate Carminucci was a stellar defender behind the plate and we had great defense from Adam Concadoro and Dan Capra all year in the infield and David Corradi tracked every ball in center.
As a senior, how did you see your role on the team, and how much did you value being a team leader?
Coming into this year, I made it my goal to become more vocal because I knew I wasn’t a top performer. I thought I could have a greater effect on the team with leadership rather than with a bat. I liked being able to lead the team alongside David and Dan, who were also both seniors. I figured that this is my last year, so I have to make the best of it and do what it takes to go as far as possible in the playoffs.
What was your favorite team activity, pre-game or post-game ritual that you shared with your teammates?
Probably rock-paper-scissors. Before every home game, the seniors would nominate someone to take on an underclassmen in an intense match of this game, which would end in all of us being pumped up to see who the winner was right before we took the field. It just shows that the smallest things like that can generate emotions. For a post-game ritual, we would go out to eat after we won. Getting anything from fast food to steak. This was not only motivation for a win, but also great for team chemistry.
Who has been your biggest role model over the years and what have you learned from them?
Dan Capra. I always try to get the most out of practices, whether it’s taking reps or running long distance. Dan has always been ahead of me and has pushed me to go forward to try and catch up. He also taught me what a true game face looks like whenever he would strike out their four hitter and walk back to the dugout like he has done a few times before.
Tell us one thing about yourself that not a lot of people know?
I am a pretty good golfer. My dad plays a lot so I started to for a little and it turns out that I may have a second calling.
Do you plan on continuing to play baseball in college? If yes, where are you going and why did you choose that school?
I am not planning to play baseball freshman year, because my schedule is busy as it is, but hopefully I can make an attempt to walk on to the team my sophomore year. I will be attending Roger Williams University in Rhode Island. I chose this school because it feels a lot like home because of how small it is.
Do you know what you want to study in college? If yes, what and why?
I will be studying mechanical engineering. I chose the engineering path because I enjoyed working with my hands in workshop classes in school and I felt that it would be a good fit for me to learn about something interesting and desirable.
Who is your favorite professional athlete and pro or college sports team?
My favorite professional athlete is Carlos Correa of the Houston Astros. He is my favorite because he defied the odds of being small when he was young and now he is a potential all-star in the MLB. My favorite sports team is the Yankees. Other than that, I am a die-hard New York Giants fan.
What is your favorite music to listen to warming up for a game?
Probably hip hop just because the pace of it is good for getting and keeping the team loose and motivated.
If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?
It would have to be invisibility. You could be anywhere you want and never get caught.
If you could pick one place to visit on vacation that you’ve never been to, where would you go and why?
I’d like to go somewhere in the Caribbean like the Cayman Islands because of the great weather and being able to go to the beach.
What is your favorite food to eat before or after a game?
A peanut butter sandwich because it is easy to make and it’s good for energy. After a good win, nothing tastes better than ribs straight off the barbecue.
Best place to eat in North Salem and why?
Farmer and the Fish. It’s a restaurant in Purdy’s that I like a lot and it is good for family dinners. Probably the only place you can get good seafood in the town.
Facebook, Twitter or Instagram? Why?
I have to go with Twitter because it is the best way to connect to celebrities. Also, I get most of my news from Twitter from local reporters so it’s good for everything.
For a young athlete growing up in North Salem, what would you tell them about the experience of being part of the baseball program and why should they go out for the team?
I’d say to get into the baseball program early. The guys I played with this year have been on all the same teams as me for my whole life. Even for those who don’t think they’re good enough, just work hard and you’ll improve. Guys like Phil Foglia and Adam Concadoro, who started for us this year, weren’t great players in Little League. They are now two of the better players in Section 1 as a result of experience and hard work.