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Sam Angelo: Unfinished Business

by Luke Cirianni

Traveling to play at the newly renovated Yogi Berra Stadium is difficult as is, especially with how talented the Montclair State University baseball team has been. But one of the best players in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) plays there and he is not an easy opponent to face.

His name is Sam Angelo, and he battles in the box.

Angelo is a graduate student from Toms River, New Jersey. He represents the Red Hawks wearing number 25, and is usually seen playing first base or in the outfield. He is in his fifth year as a student-athlete, after losing the 2020 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

His growth as a player has been exponential since the day he committed as a Red Hawk. When he took the field last season in 2023, he took off.

Angelo finished the season with numerous individual awards: D3Baseball.com First Team All American, D3Baseball.com Region 4 Player of the Year, First Team All Region and NJAC Player of the Year.

Angelo led his team in every offensive category imaginable: batting average, home runs and RBIs, to name a few. This was all just a warmup for his 2024 career year.

Angelo’s final ride as a Red Hawk has been his best so far. With just a handful of games remaining in the regular season, his numbers top any other season he has had. As of April 12, he currently leads the NJAC in hits (54), home runs (14), RBIs (47) and slugging percentage (.894).

Graduate student Sam Angelo rounding third after a home run. Matt Deluca | The Montclarion

Graduate student Sam Angelo rounding third after a home run. Matt Deluca | The Montclarion

Angelo said he tries to stay humble and focuses on performing for his team.

“I’ve been trying to do my work every year, keep my head down and just keep going,” Angelo said. “My goal is just to produce as much for the team as possible, and stack up as many wins as we can.”

He emphasized that he does not think about his stats the second he takes the field.

“I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself,” Angelo said. “Whenever I’m in that box, I try to clear my head the best I can. The goal is to have a clear mind in order to have success hitting the ball, simple as that.”

Due to the composure Angelo has in the batter’s box, he is a player who shows up in big moments. A notable moment earlier this season was when Angelo had a walk-off double in the 12th inning, beating a strong Stevens Institute of Technology team.

According to fifth-year utility player Miles Feaster, Angelo’s positive attitude is a core part of the Montclair State clubhouse.

“[Angelo] is a great teammate,” Feaster said. “He’s always keeping a positive attitude, along with a great work ethic.”

Feaster, who is usually at bat right before Angelo, said that he has a lot of confidence that Angelo will advance him while he is on base.

“There are plenty of times I don’t even really have to worry about getting to second base because if [Angelo] puts [the ball] in the gap, I know I can score from first,” Feaster said. “I have lots of confidence when I’m on base and he’s up.”

Angelo is not only seen as a star player but also as a mentor to the underclassmen on the team. Hitting coach Joe Norton had nothing but nice words to describe Angelo.

“[Angelo] is a great guy,” Norton said. “The best thing about [Angelo] is that he sets a good example for everybody else and works really hard. He also shows the younger guys the best ways to be successful.”

Angelo passes down his knowledge to the younger players, for a hopefully bright future of baseball. There also seems to be a strong culture around the team, on and off the field. Angelo said the energy they bring on game day shows it.

Matt Deluca | The Montclarion

Matt Deluca | The Montclarion

“The team culture this year is to stay together and play the best brand of baseball that we can,” Angelo said. “We’re trying to keep the team chemistry up as much as we can. If that’s there, we know our energy and fire is going to be there to win every game.”

Angelo is a big believer in this Montclair State squad. It can easily be heard in his voice when he talks about the culture around this team. With a 24-7 record so far this season, fans are starting to believe the Red Hawks can win it all, both in conference and regional play.

With almost every individual accolade a ball player could have, Angelo said that there is still one thing he needs to do to finish off his career the right way: championships.

“The goal is to ultimately help bring that NJAC title and that national championship here,” Angelo said. “But for myself, I’m just trying to keep my head on my shoulders and my team together for the rest of the season.”

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