Wellington High School graduate Angelo Brunelas recently walked across the stage to receive his diploma with the Class of 2017. The standout pitcher for the Wolverines will depart Aug. 15 for Winthrop University to play in the NCAA Division I Big South Conference as a pitcher for the Eagles.
Brunelas had an immediate bond with the campus and the coaching staff at Winthrop. “The campus and the coaches are great, and I just connected with them right away,” he said.
Brunelas will be the first to tell you that he believed he lacked size early on in his high school career, but what he perceived as a detriment served as motivation to increase his speed and strength. “My junior year is when the looks started coming in, and I always had a plan to play college baseball,” he explained. “Coaches believe it’s an advantage for me to be a crafty lefty pitcher.”
Brunelas threw right-handed early on in his youth, but with the assistance of his father, he trained himself to throw lefty. Once he began playing for the travel team FTB Rockets, he was a dominant left-handed thrower.
Brunelas posted 46 strikeouts in his senior season, and the 5-foot-9 170-pounder helped lead the Wolverines to the team’s first district title in nine years.
“It has been nine years since we’ve won the district,” he said. “My senior year, I wanted to go out good, and this was the year to do it.”
He posted a .411 batting average and 14 RBIs in addition to being selected as the Class 8A-12 Player of the Year, and the Class 8A-12 Pitcher of the Year. Brunelas was also selected to play in the Dick Howser All-Star Game and the HSBN All-Star Game.
It has been a memorable year for him, and he attributes much of his success, and the success of the Wolverines, to head coach Scott Riddle. “I can’t thank coach Riddle enough,” he said. “He has done a lot for me.”
The biggest moment of his high school career was winning the district championship.
“Winning the district was really a special moment,” he said. “We did really well considering how young we were, and the coaches did a really good job getting us ready.”
Brunelas will continue to train through the summer and will play in a summer collegiate baseball league to remain sharp for his first year as a Winthrop Eagle. He is undecided on what his focus of studies will be, but is leaning toward majoring in business.
“I plan on continuing to improve my speed and strength with running build-up sprints and lifting,” he said.
Keep working hard in practice and in the classroom was his mantra, which he passes on to the younger, up-and-coming players.
To follow Brunelas at Winthrop next season, visit www.winthropeagles.com.
ABOVE: Pitcher Angelo Brunelas throws to the plate for Wellington.