Humble and hungry

Since he was young, baseball senior Vincent Guglietti always had an appetite to improve his game

By on April 15, 2015
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Quinnipiac senior Vincent Guglietti waits in the on-deck circle at the QU Baseball Field. He’s leading off the third inning of a early-April contest against Rhode Island, and a new pitcher has just entered the game.

It’s a rainy day, not a good time to be playing baseball, but Guglietti is still focused. The first baseman says a prayer before he steps into the batter’s box, something that he does before every at-bat.

Guglietti finds a pitch he likes, then uses his explosive swing and blasts the ball over the left field wall for a home run to put Quinnipiac up 7-2.

The at-bat is just one example of what he’s meant to the program in his four years at Quinnipiac. Guglietti has been one of the main run producers for the Bobcats, recording 105-career RBI’s. That’s the most by any current player on the roster and ninth-best since Quinnipiac moved to Division I.

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As a young child, Guglietti showed off his baseball potential long before he started playing the game.

“He would swing his Lincoln Logs like they were baseball bats,” his father, also named Vin, said. “He would have someone pitch something to him and hit it with his toys.”

Guglietti started playing organized baseball when he was 4-years-old, which was when his father signed him up for Little League.

“I didn’t even know what it was,” Guglietti said. “But that day he gave me a glove and a hat, and once we started playing catch I fell in love.”

As a kid, Guglietti always tried to act like the pros he saw on television. Whenever his dad told him there was a game the next day, he would fill up a paper cup with water and bring it to the game the next day.

He saw the pros drinking out of cups of water in the dugout on television, and wanted to be just like them.

“My dad thought I was nuts, but he’s the reason I fell in love with the game so quickly,” Guglietti said.

The young Guglietti looked to his father as a role model, both in baseball and life in general. Their time spent playing baseball together taught the young boy some of his greatest life lessons.

“He taught me right from wrong and how to go about being a man,” Guglietti said. “He taught me how to believe in myself and that life is like baseball, that there will be good days and bad days.”

Guglietti’s father found that the time he shared with his son during baseball was more than just playing catch.

“I think that the reason he loved playing baseball was because it was our father-son bonding time, and he knew that,” Guglietti’s father said.

His dad coached him throughout tee-ball and again during his last year in Little League. Eventually, Guglietti started to play more competitive baseball and coached by other people.

“It hurt him a bit that he couldn’t coach me, but he realized that there were bigger and better things ahead,” Guglietti said.

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Starting when he was 11-years-old, Guglietti stopped playing town league in his hometown of East Haven and began playing for the Connecticut Bombers during summers. He wanted to improve his game and play against better competition.

For the six years that he played for the Bombers, Guglietti benefited from many coaches with different tactics and styles. He learned different outlooks and approaches to the game from them, some of which he still uses today.

“Anything that you need you can learn from their experience,” he said. “I would pick and choose different approaches that personally worked for me.”

Guglietti also played one season for Baseball U in 2010. He looks at this time period as where he started getting a familiarity with colleges and even the pros. He used the tool set he acquired from the Bombers, and brought it to the team that gave him exposure to scouts.

During the school year Guglietti played at East Haven High School. He became a star in high school, breaking the school’s single-season hits record in his senior year with 40. He batted .543, which is also a school record. Guglietti received Connecticut All-State honors his senior year, and received All-Area honors twice.

In high school, Guglietti learned to set high standards. He wanted to look at the stats each year and have a better season than his last.

“I did improve each year, but I always felt that I could do more and that I wasn’t doing enough,” Guglietti said.

He had good numbers, but Guglietti would often get down on himself because he expected more. His coaches encouraged him to keep thinking positively.

One game, Guglietti remembers dropping a few fly balls at first base. After the game he went up to his coach, Butch Johnson, and apologized for his performance. Johnson told him about how former professional baseball player Jeff Bagwell dropped three fly balls in one game and laughed every single one of them off. That story stuck with Guglietti to this day.

“Now I just try to laugh off my mistakes and try and get the next one,” Guglietti said.

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When choosing schools, Guglietti was searching primarily across Connecticut. Being an 18-year-old kid that had never been away from home, he didn’t want to travel too far.

“I don’t think he was ready at that time to go down south, he wanted to stay close to home,” his father said.

He came to Quinnipiac to watch a couple of games before making his decision, and quickly fell in love with how former Quinnipiac head coach Dan “Skip” Gooley guided his team.

“I wanted to be a part of his winning culture. I love the way he patrolled the field and the way he looked at his players,” Guglietti said. “Skip instilled the winning attitude in our team.”

Guglietti eventually made his decision to come to Quinnipiac because of the convenient distance to home, the winning attitude and the good education he would receive.

“Quinnipiac was the best overall fit for me,” Guglietti said.

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Guglietti instantly learned at Quinnipiac that he was going to have to work hard to succeed.

“I never worked out in high school, but I had to here,” Guglietti said. “I was going to have to work hard or I wasn’t going to make it.”

He was thrown into the fire his freshman year, playing in 46 games as the designated hitter. He batted .276 for the season, recording 43 hits and 22 RBI’s, and was named to the All-Northeast Conference Second Team. Even though most people looked at his season as a good year for a freshman, Guglietti wasn’t satisfied.

“I knew I had more than that in me,” he said.

His sophomore year, he wanted to come out and help his team more. He started in all 53 games, and led the team in batting average, hits and doubles.

When Guglietti was looking for summer leagues to play in, Gooley suggested the New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL). That summer, Guglietti joined the Plymouth Pilgrims in the NECBL and was recognized by scouts from all around the country.

“It was probably the greatest blessing of my life,” he said. “It taught me how hard I have to work, how much time I have to put and how dedicated I have to be to get to the level I want to be at.”

Despite being third on the team in batting average and first on the team in doubles and RBI’s, Guglietti still thought he struggled against the competition from across the country. He began to think that he was reaching his plateau as a baseball player.

“There’s a time in every baseball player’s career where they think it might be the end of the road, but when that time comes you just have to work harder,” Guglietti said.

He came back to Hamden knowing what he had to do to improve his game.

“I wouldn’t call it swagger because I’m a tall, goofy kid, but I came back with a new kind of confidence,” Guglietti said.

He became an offensive threat known across the MAAC, finishing second in slugging percentage and home runs in the conference, and fifth in batting average. He also led the team in just about every offensive category for the Bobcats. He was awarded second team All-MAAC for first basemen.

“He had the same mindset and approach no matter how he was playing,” head coach John Delaney said. “No matter how he’s playing he expects three or four hits.”

Guglietti went back to the NECBL for the second year and continued his hot streak into the summer. He continued to work hard; he lifted three hours a day, did practice an extra hour and worked on his swing.

It paid off for him as he won the Most Improved Player award in the entire league and finished as second team first baseman behind the eventual Player of the Year. He batted .303 and also hit seven home runs and drove in 38 RBI’s, which was good for second in the entire league.

“For the first in my career, I told myself I was proud because I knew that the hard work was paying off,” Guglietti said.

***

Guglietti is a man of routine and tradition. Before each season, he writes a lists of goals as a player and for the team. At the end of the year, he looks back and compares his goals to reality.

“I don’t want to jinx myself, so I don’t want to talk too much about it,” Guglietti said with a smile on his face.

Before every game, he makes sure to do the same schedule during warmups. He makes sure he gets good sleep, gets a good breakfast in him and says a prayer before every game and in between at-bats. He finds that this is the way to get him in the proper mental state for the game.

“For me, saying a prayer for my family and for me to have a good day gets me in the right mindset to play,” Guglietti said. “Win or lose I’m still grateful for everything that happened and that I am still playing the game.”

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Guglietti has matured as a baseball player and as a leader while at Quinnipiac. According to coach Delaney, he has gone from being the quiet player to play the game to becoming a verbal leader for a young infield.

“His verbal communication has been his biggest growth over the course of four years,” Delaney said. “Leadership is a big thing we’ve been working with him in the development stage.”

Guglietti has one ultimate goal, to continue playing baseball beyond his college days. He has grown his set of skills to reach that goal to hopefully be drafted.

“My journey at Quinnipiac has been to get better every year, and to work harder every year,” Guglietti said. “As long as I stay healthy and keep my head on straight I think I will be playing baseball, just thinking about the present day, one day at a time.”

Delaney sees Guglietti playing at the next level due to the commitment and hard work that he shows on the field.

“He sets himself to a higher standard, everything he does he expects to be perfect,” Delaney said. “The kid has put in the work and has gotten himself seen.”

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