BOSTON — Entering his senior season on the UMass Boston baseball team, Peabody native Bobby Tramondozzi’s goal was to make the most of his final year pitching for the Beacons. Tramondozzi still has work to do but he’s well on his way toward reaching what he set out for. The Beacons, champions of the Little East Conference, start their Division III NCAA Tournament quest Friday (11) when they host Baruch College in the regional round. It marks the Beacons’ fourth trip to the NCAA Tournament in as many seasons.
“Going into our fourth regional is pretty special,” Tramondozzi said. “I don’t think there’s a (senior) class in this school that has gone to four straight. It’s pretty special for us to be going for our fourth year in a row.”
UMass Boston has hosted LEC Tournaments in recent seasons, but the program has yet to welcome a NCAA Regional Round at Monan Park.
“We were watching the selection show in the locker room,” Tramondozzi said. “There’s a video on Twitter of us going crazy. It’s pretty cool. (Monan Park) is a replica of Fenway Park. It’s a huge advantage because we know the dimensions and we know how to play it right. I think we’ll be more comfortable than we would be somewhere else.”
Tramondozzi hopes experience will also play to UMass Boston’s advantage this weekend. Drawing from the past three seasons, the Beacons know what to expect when the lights shine brightest.
“I think experience is a big thing,” Tramondozzi said. “All our seniors, juniors and sophomores are battle tested. I don’t think it’s nerve-racking for us. (Baruch College) doesn’t have NCAA (Tournament) experience. I think we have an advantage going into the first round, just playing a game that we know.”
Tramondozzi has been nothing short of lights out as the Beacons’ closer this spring. In 31 innings of work, Tramondozzi has allowed just four earned runs on 19 hits, five walks and has tallied 37 strikeouts. His 1.16 ERA is a career-best.
For Tramondozzi, it all comes down to having the right mentality on the mound.
“My freshman year I wasn’t the closer so I carried a different mentality,” Tramondozzi, a right-hander, said. “I was the first man out of the bullpen so coming in the game in the fifth inning was a lot different from what I do now. Coming in, my goal is to get three outs and win the game as quickly as possible. That main thing is having that ‘bulldog mentality,’ thinking that nobody can beat me or get a hit off me so I can be as dominant as I can be.”
Tramondozzi spent the summer fine-tuning his game with the All-Dorchester Sports League squad of the Boston Park League. He helped ADSL to its first Park League championship since 2001. Tramondozzi picked up the save in Game 7 of the league’s championship series, a 3-2 ADSL victory over TJO Sports.
“Playing for ADSL was different than what I’ve done in the past few years,” Tramondozzi said. “I played for the Navigators in the past. Playing in the Park League was fun. There were seven of us from UMass Boston on the team. Playing in a men’s league is intense in its own way. Helping the veterans on the team win a ring was special.”
Tramondozzi graduated from Peabody High in 2015. He was a two-year starter for Tanners baseball coach Mark Bettencourt. The Tanners are well-represented on UMass Boston’s roster. Joining Tramondozzi as Peabody High products on the team are brothers Joe and Patrick Maguire (both pitchers), infielder Ryan Collins and outfielder/first baseman Nick Palma.
“Our freshman year it was just me and Joe Maguire, we came together,” Tramondozzi said. “We were some of the first to come play here. I think we set a precedent for that. Peabody has a great program. Coach Bettencourt does a great job there. He helped all of us get to where we are now.”
UMass Boston ended the season on the upswing by winning 15 of its last 16 games. The Beacons will look to carry that momentum this weekend.
“We have to stay as loose as possible,” Tramondozzi, a criminal justice major, said. “We’re comfortable playing at home. We won the LEC Tournament, playing against some of the best teams in the country. We need to go out there thinking nobody can beat us and just play our own game.
“As seniors we need to be leaders and bring the intensity. Hopefully we bring a national championship to UMass Boston.”