For Coppell senior outfielder Joey Bonfiglio, his latest opportunity presents everything he ever wanted.
Bonfiglio always wanted to be part of college baseball program someday. He grew up watching the University of Florida, where his parents went to school, and supporting the Gators every single week.
Now, after all these years hoping that he could maybe don a college’s jersey one day, he gets that chance. Bonfiglio committed to Garden City Community College in Kansas, where he will further his career on the diamond and get himself one step closer to playing Division I baseball.
"It means everything,” Bonfiglio said. “The future is open. I got an opportunity to be successful here in baseball and in academics. And it’s just an opportunity just to go forward and try to be as successful as I can.”
Garden City was an easy choice for Bonfiglio, with the school and program showing its high level of care right from the very beginning when it got in contact with him late last month.
He and his hitting coach went from conference to conference looking to find which schools he could reach out to. Then Garden City came calling, and it did absolutely everything it could – going through his entire profile and going back to watching his football highlights as well, seeing him rack up 26 tackles as a cornerback.
“That meant everything to me because they really took time to invest in me and showed how much they cared about having me come there,” Bonfiglio said.
As soon as head coach Ryan Howard, who spent the past three years at Lake Dallas, arrived at Coppell, it took him no time to understand just who Bonfiglio is and what he brings to the table.
He saw his size. He saw his tall frame and his strong build from all of the work he put in the weight room. Plus, he saw his speed, saying they planned on getting him a few stolen bases this season.
“I was excited to see him with a baseball in his hand,” Howard said. “When he came out in the spring, he showed great arm strength. He’s a very, very good athlete, very fast, and we threw him in the outfield.”
But what stood out more than anything else was Bonfiglio’s character.
“He leads the right way,” Howard said. “I think he’s a guy that everybody respects in our program. That’s the most important thing I think of any player is you have the respect of every single person in that locker room. And that’s tough to do, but the way he holds himself and the way that he goes about his work – it’s impossible not to respect Joey.”
Howard only expects greater things are in store for his senior leader.
A multi-sport athlete who received all of the benefits associated with competing in different sports, Bonfiglio will soon be tied to one sport year-round. Add in his drive and work ethic, it makes it easy for his coach to project more success when he heads off to Garden City.
“The sky is the limit with Joey,” Howard said. “I’m just really excited to see him focus in and really bear down and see the baseball player he can become. There’s not going to any limits on him from his body by any means.”
And when Bonfiglio gets there, he will continue pouring his heart and soul into the sport and do whatever he can to help the team and climb up the ladder to one day becoming a Division I ballplayer.
“They’re going to be getting everything I’ve got for them,” Bonfiglio said. “This an opportunity that I see is fit for me, and I believe it’s an opportunity for me to go out there and try and give them my best. That’s trying not only to exceed my grades that I did in high school in college, but also exceed the potential level that I have going into Garden City.
“I want to exceed their expectations. I want to try and be the best, not only player for myself, but the player for the team.”