John Carroll Catholic High School Athletics


Bonvillain setting high bar for Cavs program


Homewood Star | 3/27/2019

Jared Bonvillain has settled on two words that he hopes will define the John Carroll Catholic High School baseball program over the next several years: consistency and continuity.

Those words have not exactly described the Cavaliers program recently, as John Carroll has had more than a handful of head coaches in the last five years. But Bonvillain is in his second year in charge — his first head coaching position after a few stops as an assistant coach — and aims to provide some stability.

He is attempting to stop what has been a revolving door for coaches and begin planting seeds that will lead to John Carroll winning in a big way.

“Teaching kids to compete at the highest level is what I’m trying to do,” Bonvillain said. “I do believe we can be successful here. We’ve got a great administration, great staff that supports what we do and we’ve got a great community with great alumni that are willing to support any way they can.”

Last season, the Cavaliers lost more games than they won, but Bonvillain was hired in August and was left playing catch-up through the remainder of the offseason. Despite that, John Carroll still managed a couple “signature wins” over Mountain Brook and Mortimer Jordan, programs that are consistently competitive.

Bonvillain inherited a team with 10 seniors, many of whom had played varsity baseball throughout their high school tenure.

“You definitely learn things in your first year as a head coach,” he said. “They were very competitive for the most part, we just fell on some tough breaks. … The kids were great. They did everything and more that we asked of them.”

Those wins were certainly encouraging and showed that progress was underway, but there is still plenty of work to be done. One of Bonvillain’s biggest hurdles is establishing a baseline of fundamentals for each player.

“They’re going to buy into whatever their current coach is trying to teach,” he said. “But I have kids that have been taught six different ways to do things.”

Aside from baseball fundamentals and competing, Bonvillain is also trying to convey to his players another important aspect of playing at John Carroll: taking pride in the school. The team has celebrated Mass at several of the Catholic schools in the area, as well as participating in Read Across America Day in early March.

“I believe that’s important when you’re dealing with Catholic education,” Bonvillain said. “It’s about not only promoting and representing John Carroll, but giving back to the community as well. It’s relationships.”

On the diamond this season, the Cavs have been initially slowed by injuries. Since so many student-athletes at John Carroll play two or even three sports, that can put a strain on the team’s roster.

Sam Reed is one of those players. He suffered a knee injury in football and has recently begun playing baseball again. He’s an important piece for the Cavs, as he pitches and plays left field.

But if there’s a positive to having a handful of experienced players on the mend, it’s the fact that many of the younger players have been able to garner valuable playing time and experience in the early portions of the year.

It’s that younger group that has Bonvillain excited for the future prospects of the program as well. The Cavs’ middle school numbers have risen from seven players last year to 17 this spring, and Bonvillain calls it a “very talented group.”

There are just four seniors on this year’s team, but each will play a large role in how successful John Carroll ends up being. Zach Elliott is a leader in the way that he carries himself and is the Cavs’ primary center fielder and leadoff hitter. Shortstop Carson Weldon is typically on the other end of the batting lineup, and Bonvillain likes his ability to “flip the lineup.”

Anthony Marino does a little bit of everything for the Cavs. He can pitch and play in the infield or outfield. Reed is the team’s other senior.

“The benefit we have is we have four seniors and they’re all quality leaders,” Bonvillain said. “They’re setting good examples for thosekids to follow.”

Other guys making consistent positive impacts for the Cavs are players like catcher Graham Russell. When Bonvillain describes Russell, the word continually used is “tough.” Jake Willett, Ricky Zimmerman, Brock Sanders, TJ Messina, JT Weisberg and William Ydarraga are players that garnered experience last year and are key contributors this season as well. Sophomores Mitchell Walker and Luke Lalisan have been crucial arms for John Carroll on the mound.

Just over a year and a half into his time at John Carroll, Bonvillain believes the program has the ability to be successful... Click here to read full article