By Jake Gustin
The Bryant Baseball team kicked off their season on Valentine’s Day against the University of Dayton. For many of the team’s younger members, it was their first time playing in a Division 1 baseball game. But for upperclassman James Ciliento, it was just another day repping the black and gold. I caught up with James to talk about his second year of being the team’s captain and what he has been able to learn about what being a leader means during his time here at Bryant University.
After a successful 2019 season for the captain, he faced tremendous obstacles that he has had to overcome. For starters, following the 2019 season he suffered a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he had been given news that the universities head baseball coach would be leaving and heading to Rutgers University. Being the leader of the team, it was time for James to take matters into his own hands like he has never had to do before. James thanks Bryant for preparing him and teaching him “how to communicate, listen, lead, and critique people in a team and group setting”. He has acquired many traits of a strong leader due to the amount of group work, leadership activities, and innovative thinking projects that Bryant offers its students.
Ciliento says he has been able to take many of the traits he’s learned in the classroom and implement them while on the baseball diamond. “Working in group settings is great, you really learn to understand how different people react to different situations and also how to communicate a problem clearly with them” this has helped James on the field by allowing him to prevent something from happening before it actually happens simply by communicating clearly with his teammates. On top of this, his time learning how to be an innovative thinker has also enhanced his leadership role. Not only has Ciliento been able to role with the punches but he has continued to push forward to help out his team in any way possible.
James’ teammates spoke on what he has been able to do differently and how they have noticed the changes. “He seems like a completely new person, his mind is on one thing and that’s how he can make everyone around him a better person and player” says Sophomore outfielder Vincenzo Castronovo. James is constantly coming up with new ways to help his team, whether it’s team meetings, early work with him before practice, or just talking one on one about what each player can do better. James is looking forward to enjoying his last season as a Bryant Bulldog. When asking James about what he wants from this season he responded, “I just want to go out, play good baseball, have a fun last ride with my teammates and hopefully bring the NEC Title back home to Bryant where it belongs”. Bryant starts their first twenty games on the road before coming back to Conaty Park for their opening day on Wednesday, March 18th against the University of Hartford.