Drew Wyers, left, and Jake DeCicco join Matty Wright, right, after a Generals game.
Matty Wright had a terrific senior season at Somerville High and he has much to look forward to at Stony Brook University, but he had a gap to fill in his baseball life that he viewed as important to that transition.
He’d also spent seven highly successful developmental years in the Diamond Jacks program out of Diamond Nation in Flemington, N.J. But, Wright knew, it was time to take his game to the next level in preparation for his freshman year of college.
“I was supposed to hook up with a team in the ABCCL, but it didn’t work out,” said Wright by phone on Wednesday, just a couple hours before a Zoom call with Stony Brook would crystalize for him the next several months of his life. “But the team felt they had too many (rising) freshmen on the team already.”
No room at the ABCCL Inn for Wright would prove advantageous for the Trenton Generals of the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League as Wright would take to the higher level of competition like a fish to water. Wright landed with the Generals after a few calls were made on his behalf and a perfect marriage had been arranged.
Generals general manager Mike Olshin, always tuned in to the statewide amateur scene, certainly knew of Wright and, says Matty, was instrumental in bringing him aboard.
The Generals were getting a ball player’s ball player in Wright, the kind of player who would produce no matter where he was placed in the lineup. Wright batted a stunning .381, the second highest batting average in Generals’ team history, according to Olshin. He did so in the highly-respected ACBL on a team that was the league’s defending champion.
“I batted leadoff at the start,” said Wright, a speedy outfielder with the well-rounded attributes that meet the requirements of that spot in the batting order. But Wright became so productive he was moved to the No. 3 spot in the Generals’ lineup. “I batted fourth a few times, too,” he added.
That said, Wright admits the elevation to a college summer league was eye-opening.
“It was easily the best pitching I’ve faced,” he said. “The best arms I’ve seen, for sure. It was really helpful to me in tightening up my mechanics. It, 100 percent, prepared me for college. I don’t know of anything I could have done better.”
Wright may be described as a patient but aggressive hitter, if you watched him during his years with the Diamond Jacks and Somerville. He can kill you with a shot in the gap, a liner down the line or bleed you with a bunt single. He’ll then steal a base or two to annoy you further.
Wright’s aggressiveness at the plate, though, may have gone up an octave or two this summer.
“I was seeing consistently higher velocity than I was used to and a lot of breaking balls,” he said. “I focused on trying to know what pitchers were thinking in certain counts.” The Generals’ terrific coaching staff of Grant Neary and Mike Coryell were a big influence in that area as well.
That led Wright to being aggressive early in counts, whether he was suspecting a fastball or a breaking ball. “It was just great to get that perspective and to gain a lot of experience,” said Wright, who just celebrated his 18th birthday.
The Generals (21-20) didn’t have as impressive a regular season as a year ago, but the club did make a nice playoff run before falling in the semifinals to the Quakertown Blazers (31-9-1).
“We won five or six straight heading into the playoffs,” said Wright. “We weren’t surprised we did well in the playoffs. We knew how good we were.”
After going 2-for-3 in that semifinal loss to the Blazers at Frank Moody Park, Wright told longtime Mercer County scribe Red Birch of the Trentonian, “This experience was awesome. It’s been the best summer of my life.”
Next up for Matty is the life changing experience college offers in the areas of academics, athletics and certainly the social aspect.
“I’m very excited for Stony Brook,” said Wright. “I’d go now if I could.”
He won’t have to wait long. He leaves Aug. 15 for the Long Island school. Meanwhile, he’ll continue to work out and hit in the cage to burn off that seemingly endless fountain of energy.
NOTES: Matty Wright was not the only former Diamond Jack on the Trenton roster. Generals pitchers Tommy Delany (Penn) and Trevor Kobryn (Siena) and corner infielder/outfielder Nick Ferri (Seton Hall University) were all Diamond Jacks.