Cougar of the Week: 03/19

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Cougar of the Week: 03/19

Photo provided by Jonathan Edelman

Photo provided by Jonathan Edelman

Photo provided by Jonathan Edelman

Photo provided by Jonathan Edelman

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Kyle Bonicki (’18) has made a strong first impression on the field for Clark, hitting and fielding his way to winning NEWMAC Player of the Week two weeks ago. Bonicki scored the game-winning run against King’s College during the team’s trip to Florida, a game that marked his fifth consecutive game with a hit.  

Photo provided by Jonathan Edelman

Photo provided by Jonathan Edelman

Scarlet: You’re leading the team in assists right now, and you are second in on base percentage. What are you doing? You’ve gotta save some of these accomplishments for the rest of your career. Did you expect this to happen so quickly?

Bonicki: I don’t know if I expected it to happen, but I definitely have high expectations for myself, and I’m hoping my work will pay off. So as long as I’m helping the team win, I don’t care how much I’m batting, I don’t care how many assists I have.

Scarlet: That’s good. That’s the correct response [laughs]. So the team has only played games during the Florida trip so far. How did those games go?

Bonicki: Well it was our first time getting out there, and we struggled a bit, but I think we have all the pieces, and towards the end of the trip, we started putting them together.

Scarlet: What was the team struggling with?

Bonicki: I think our defense was a little lacking. Our pitching was pitching well enough for us to win, so I think we just stepped up defensively and got more focused in some games towards the end.

Scarlet: All of your games have been postponed since the Florida trip. How are you dealing with that?

Bonicki: It’s tough. It’s a little frustrating, but there’s really nothing we can do about it. We know all teams in the Northeast are going through the same problem, but we’re just trying to stay focused; we’re just trying to come to every practice with the same game-like intensity.

Scarlet: On the bright side, the longer you guys have to wait to play a game, the longer your hitting streak is alive.

Bonicki: [Laughs] That’s true. If I’m not playing, than I’m not getting out.

Scarlet: Does the streak change your mentality at all? Based on your previous answer, it seems like it’s not that big of a deal.

Bonicki: Yeah, no. I mean…hit streaks are hit streaks, and stats and whatever are nice, but the most important stat for us right now is our two game win streak. So we’re just ready to get out and keep that streak going.

Scarlet: What do you do during your downtime?

Bonicki: That’s a good question [laughs]. Clark’s been very challenging academically. I’ve been spending a lot of time in the library, spent a lot of time just hanging out with my suitemates and my teammates outside of class, outside of the gym, stuff like that. So between working out and practicing, and doing homework and studying, I don’t have that much free time. But I guess just hanging out with the guys pretty much.

Scarlet: How is the team atmosphere of college baseball different than that of your high school?

Bonicki: It’s completely different. We’re around each other all the time. I made some great bonds with my teammates in high school, but I’m now living with three baseball players, I spend the rest of my time with the rest of the thirty guys, and we’re all really close as a unit. I wasn’t here last year, but from what I’ve been told, the team chemistry is much better than it has been in the recent past, so hopefully that translates to the field.

Scarlet: How are you able to live in a suite as a first-year?

Bonicki: Well I’m actually a transfer. I went to University of New Haven last year, and I transferred as a sophomore technically, so academically I’m a sophomore. So I was originally living in JSC, and then I met some of the baseball guys, and they had an open bed in their suite, and they were just awesome. They just took me right in and opened up their door to me, so it worked out perfectly.

Scarlet: Why did you decide to transfer to Clark?

Bonicki: Well first off, baseball is obviously a huge part of my life, but academics is what you go to college for. So Clark was a better school academically, but also I wasn’t playing baseball there. I didn’t really get too much of a shot to play there.

Scarlet: Yeah, they’re Division II, right?

Bonicki: D-II, and they’re a very strong program. And I wasn’t really recruited there, I didn’t have a scholarship for baseball or anything, so I was gonna try to walk on. But when I tried out they just didn’t take any walk-ons. And I knew I wanted to play college baseball, so I had to make a change.

Scarlet: I know this is only your first year here, but how good are the NEWMAC teams compared to the teams you played against in Florida?

Bonicki: I know we’re going to see really good competition in the NEWMAC. I know the pitching is very challenging, but I think our team can definitely compete with any team in the NEWMAC, any team we play in general. I think we all have the pieces, so if we put them together like we’ve been doing lately, I don’t think we’ll be overmatched at all.