Branford’s scholar athletes have a rich tradition of bringing Branford pride to college and beyond, and recent graduates are no exception.
Ben LaCroix is just one of those examples.
As a lifelong resident of Branford and a lifelong fan of baseball, Ben’s started out as a standout player since little league, and has since been no stranger to achievement. As a kid, college ball wasn’t just a dream for LaCroix but a calling.
From little league to his senior year of high school at Notre Dame West Haven LaCroix racked up, not only experience, but accolades. Ben’s potential was evident, becoming a top player on Little League All-Stars, Cooperstown, and American Legion teams. At Notre Dame of West Haven, LaCroix helped lead his team to the Class L championship in 2014.
This lead LaCroix to be recruited by Coach Dan Gomez of Western New England University in Springfield MA where he’s been playing ever since. LaCroix earned the starting right fielder position as a freshman and has only worked on improving since then.
“College ball’s a lot different from high school so I had to deal with a few ‘growing pains,’” LaCroix says as he explains his transition. But he was not alone. “Thirteen seniors graduated last year, so this year we were super young. We didn’t act young though.”
LaCroix credits his coach, Dan Gomez as the reason due to his old school coaching strategy and his ability to motivate to keep moving forward and improving.
And LeCroix keeps piling on the accolades, and statistics.
So far LaCroix’s stats at Western New England are nothing less than astounding. He earned All-Commonwealth Coast Conference 1ST team honors following a breakout campaign in which he hit .341 (10th in CCC) and also ranked in the top-10 in the conference in home runs (5, 1st), RBI (35, T-1st), walks (26, 2nd), on-base percentage (.446, 5th), slugging percentage (.515, 8th) and runs scored (28, T-9th). The sophomore has recorded 16 multi-hit games while driving in multiple runs in eight contests.
And he’s giving back beyond the baseball diamond. Ben has also coached the Cooperstown team with his father Dave LaCroix, who has watched his son blossom as a player and person with pride.
“It wasn’t about the win for Ben, it was about the boys learning the game and about the spirit of the game and how it should be played,” he explains of his son. “As a college baseball player, the boys took to him and listened to his every word. It was amazing thing to watch! For me, possibly one of my proudest dad moments watching my older son (Cooperstown Player 2010) coach my younger son in 2016.”
Now that the season is over LaCroix is hitting the fields this summer, playing in the West Haven Twilight League getting ready for the new season.
“You’re only as good as your last season.” LaCroix says. “For now I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing and keep getting better.” LaCroix’s not sure what the future holds for him yet, but hopes that if he works hard it will involve the game he loves.
Know of a former Branford student now making a name outside of Branford? Let us know! Email Aodhan Dunn at ADunn@atticusnews.com