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CSC’s Avellino Finds Home

  • Former Woodstock High athlete Doug Avellino, right, finished his junior baseball season at Colby-Sawyer College as an NCAA Division III All-New England player. The second baseman led the team with a .365. batting average. Courtesy of Colby-Sawyer Sports Information.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 7/2/2017 12:14:15 AM
Modified: 7/2/2017 12:14:16 AM

Woodstock — Life in the big city wasn’t for Doug Avellino. But the former Woodstock High sports standout has had more than a little success since returning to a more rural setting.

Avellino, who played soccer, basketball, baseball and a touch of tennis while with the Wasps, headed to Boston’s Wentworth Institute of Technology in 2014. Located in the Hub’s Fenway neighborhood, it seemed like a good place to continue his baseball career. Until he was the team’s last cut his freshman spring.

Surprised not to be part of a program that had recruited him, Avellino didn’t spend much time sulking. Instead, he headed over to the tennis courts and made the men’s team as a walk-on. The rookie lost all four matches in which he played, but it gave him a daily athletic outlet and kept his reflexes and agility sharp. Doug’s father, Tom, is Woodstock’s boys soccer coach and was once the boys tennis boss, so his son knew the latter sport.

“The baseball coach at Wentworth made it sound like I would be on the team pretty easily,” Doug Avellino said. “But more than 50 guys tried out, which he said was the most ever. I couldn’t just sit back and be mad at myself; I needed to be doing something, even if it wasn’t what I had originally planned.”

Avellino thought he wanted to study industrial design, but he found the drawing and art classes in which he was enrolled didn’t inspire him.

“I hated every minute of it,” he said. “It was very hands-on, which I thought I would like, but the teachers were very particular on what they wanted, so there wasn’t a lot of freedom in what we were doing.”

Avellino’s college choice out of high school had been between Wentworth and New London’s Colby-Sawyer College. So he retraced his steps, returned to baseball and landed with the Chargers, who had compiled a string of 10 consecutive losing seasons. They went 13-23 during Avellino’s sophomore season, when the infielder batted .333 and started all 32 games in which he played.

This spring, Colby-Sawyer was second in the North Atlantic Conference before losing eight of its last nine games and missing the four-team conference tournament. Especially galling was the loss of three of four contests to lowly Thomas College and dropping the season finale to New England College in 12 innings. The Chargers finished 11-13 in NAC play.

Playing through hamstring injuries to compete in 37 games, Avellino batted a team-high .365 with 26 RBIs and 18 steals in 24 attempts. The sports management major mostly lined up at second base, giving senior first baseman Justin Devoid, a former Hartford High rival, a good look at his skills.

“Fast hands, fast feet,” said Devoid, who hit .328 in 38 games. “Quick out of the batter’s box and he has some power to the fence, if not over it.”

Avellino’s performance earned him ECAC Division III All-New England honors. He was also All-NAC for a second consecutive campaign and struck out just six times in 126 at-bats, ranking sixth nationally among Division III players. Quite an uptick for a kid supposedly not good enough to even compete at that level two years ago.

“I’d never had a letdown in my athletic career like I did at Wentworth, and I took it pretty personal,” said Avellino, whose former school is a combined 39-56 the past three seasons. “I don’t know if I wanted to prove I could play more to myself or the Wentworth coach, but what I’ve done feels good.

“We’ve improved for the past two seasons here and built a solid foundation. We just need to be more consistent in finishing out games. I think we can be one of the best teams in the conference next year if we focus.”

Tris Wykes can be reached at twykes@vnews.com or 603-727-3227.




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