Poly Prep Day School, 2022 Undefeated Baseball Team with New York Mets Hall of Famer, Joh Franco. This is the 14th consecutive Ivy League Championship with an undefeated Record of 14-0. Photo Courtesy of Poly Prep
Losing. It’s not in his vocabulary.
Maybe he’s just allergic to the feeling.
However, Matt Roventini has coached 410 baseball games at Poly Prep Day School in 19 seasons – and won 337.
That’s an .821 winning percentage – tremendous in any league.
And the Prep added their 14th straight Ivy League championship this season with an undefeated record (14-0) – and went 19-4 overall.
When asked why the Prep has been so successful, Roventini told the Eagle, “Well, we have some really good players.”
But in reality, it’s more than that.
“We have a wonderful program in place that supports the student athlete,” he said. “And we do a lot of work in the off-season.”
The 1992 Poly Prep grad claims the culture created years ago, as well as the rich history has made Poly Prep the perennial high school baseball power in New York City.
But it’s not easy.
“It’s tough getting student-athletes with great athletic ability,” he said. “We try to identify great kids for our school, since academics always come first.”
Roventini certainly has the eye as the school as become the destination for super academic kids with athletic ability. “It’s really unmatched in any place in our city.”
And there’s no scholarships offered at Poly Prep.
In fact, Roventini says the annual admission cost is somewhere in the neighborhood of $57,000.
“Yes, we do offer financial aid,” he said. “A potential student-athlete will apply through our admissions office, and his aid will be based on financial need. The admissions office works the entire dynamic.”
If you’re wondering about the competition, well look no further.
The Blue Devils opened their season playing in their new Matt Roventini Field – they topped Don Bosco Prep, then the 16th-ranked team in the country, 8-2. The team then cruised through the first two rounds of the NYSAIS playoffs and defeated Stonybrook to win the title – claiming its 10th NYSAIS championship since 2007.
That first State Championship was in 2007 – they went undefeated at 27-0– and the coach remembers it well.
“We won a one-run game and the players stormed the field. However, after the pile-up, one of the players, Kevin Heller, got up and put my daughter on her shoulders and walked around the field with her. That’s when I realized two things – kids have greatness in them and it is always bigger than just that single game.”
By the way, Heller was a 2012, 40th-round draft selection of the Boston Red Sox and played with their Salem Single-A affiliate.
Winning aside – and the Blue Devils have done that a lot – academics never take a second seat at Poly Prep.
Key players on this year’s championship team will play college baseball.
Gio Colasante received a scholarship from Harvard; Devon Kodell, from Vanderbilt University and Holden Lipton, The University of Pennsylvania.
Prep players – like the team’s schedule – are scattered across the country in schools like Franklin & Marshall, Boston College, Williams College, Notre Dame, Duke and The George Washington University.
Matt Roventini has coached six New York City Players’ of the Year, five Rawlings All Americans, seven Major League Baseball draft selections, one New York State Gatorade Player of the Year, one USA Baseball Gold Medalist and 11 New York State Independent School Championships – since the inception in 2000.
And guess what?
The coach is very happy where he’s at.
“My son will be a sophomore in the Fall, and I’m fortunate to be able to coach him,” he said.
Yet with all the wins, with all the success the thing that makes Matt Roventini happiest – “The relationships built over time.”
Matt Roventini built more than relationships over time.
He built a dynasty at the school he attended.
Andy Furman is a Fox Sports Radio national talk show host. Previously, he was a scholastic sports columnist for the Brooklyn Eagle. He may be reached at: [email protected] Twitter: @AndyFurmanFSR