Hello, everyone, my name is Vincenzo Aiello, and I am one of the pitching instructors at Momentum Sports. I’m blessed that I’m able to do what I do and help the youth baseball community in more ways than just on the mound. I’m currently 29 years old and have been playing for 25 years (which is a crazy thing to sit here and type out). Baseball has taken me all over the country as an amateur player, collegiate athlete, and, most recently, professional for the past 7+ years.
Mid Island Little League
My playing career started at home in Staten Island, as I played tee ball for Mid Island Little League. Beginning in a green uniform playing for the local McDonald’s, I eventually made my way to the majors division as an 11-year-old. I spent two seasons playing for Belfiore Meats. After my little league career finished, I moved to the back fields at Mid Island Babe Ruth, playing for the Stingrays, where I spent two seasons and learned the joys of winning and the heartbreak of losing. We lost in the championship game that summer on a misplayed routine fly ball. It taught us the value of teamwork as we all consoled our outfielder, who we knew took it all to heart. The following year, the Stingrays returned with a “can’t lose, won’t lose” mentality, and we were crowned champions. I was named co-MVP with my 3rd basemen after hitting .456 for the season and getting my first taste of pitching.
Tottenville High School/Staten Island Orioles
Fast forward to 2008, entering Tottenville High School as a wide-eyed freshman. I also joined the Staten Island Orioles, where my playing career began to take off. I was the only Mid Island player to make the Tottenville High School freshman team, and that’s when I realized I could do something pretty cool in this game. Mike Campbell Sr. was my head coach and the first person who saw my potential as a pitcher. He was there for me every step of my high school career, both at Tottenville High School and with the Staten Island Orioles. He believed in me and taught me the true meaning of “trust the process,” as there were definitely my share of failures and struggles as I began to develop into the player I would eventually become. After winning the high school freshman and sophomore championships, we suffered a devastating loss in the city championship in 2011, and that was the first time I saw how much this game could mean to a team. I still remember seeing the seniors’ faces that year as we all got together in the clubhouse after the game, thinking that all I wanted to do was go out and win again the following year. Unfortunately, we never made it my senior season, so we never got the chance, but it was not due to a lack of effort.
Following my senior season, I was fortunate and blessed enough to be offered by Rider University to become a Division I baseball player. Not only was I the first in my family to go to college, but I was also the first to attend college on a scholarship. Rider University brought me some of my closest friends and favorite memories both on and off the field. It taught me discipline, being on my own for the first time. Early morning lifts, late-night practices, and a demanding travel schedule gave me my first taste of what professional baseball would be like. During my time at Rider, we had two seasons where we finished in first place in the MAAC and two seasons where we finished in the bottom of the pack. I helped my team win games and also was the reason we lost in the playoffs in 2013, once again teaching me the highs and lows of the sport and how to handle adversity. I am forever grateful for my time at Rider and will forever be a Bronc.
The 2015 season brought such high expectations. Coming off a summer where I posted a .92 ERA in 19.2 innings, winning closer of the year in the New England Collegiate Baseball League, and earning the first-ever full-season contract offer for the Cape Cod Baseball League for a Rider Bronc, I ended up breaking my elbow in a game against St. John’s and missing the remainder of the season. I was devastated, but what hurt the most was not being able to help a team that ended up finishing in first place and ultimately missing out on a regional opportunity in the NCAA tournament. Because I missed the season with a medical redshirt, I was able to transfer to Oklahoma University after I graduated from Rider University in 2016 and spent the 2016-2017 season down in Norman, Oklahoma, which was one of the best decisions I ever made for myself in pursuing my baseball career. I learned so much about myself being so far from home and playing in front of thousands of fans a night, both that cheered for us and those who wanted their teams to beat us. It was an experience I will forever cherish, and I am grateful to have my name attached to a regional appearance in Louisville in 2017.
June 14, 2017.
Two weeks after our season ended, I am a 22-year-old pitcher staring at a computer screen, watching name after name pop up and not seeing mine during the 2017 MLB Draft. I had my hopes, spoke to all 30 teams to some capacity, and was just waiting to see my name. And then, in round 28, pick #839, my name popped up on the screen next to a colorful Miami Marlins logo, and I immediately froze. I couldn’t believe it, and then my phone began to ring with message after message from friends and family, and crazy enough, some fans congratulated me. My family was so excited, and we celebrated that night in my backyard. I had no idea about the adventure I was about to go on and was full of emotions. It was one of the best feelings in the world, as I felt all the work I had put in and the sacrifices I had made were finally worth it. Hearing and seeing my name on the board is a moment I will forever remember. I will always be grateful to the Miami Marlins organization for taking a chance on a Staten Island kid. I could finally put the word next to my name that I had dreamed about since I watched my first baseball game at Shea Stadium with my grandmother when I was a little boy: Professional.