Bristol Blues outfielder Joseph Rios first got into fishing while he was in high school. What started as just a hobby to fill some free time has turned into one of the ways the he escapes from life and baseball. He said being by the water, sitting and talking with his dad is one of the best ways to distress whenever there’s something going on.
However, when Rios is on the diamond, he’s locked in on baseball and simply just trying to have fun.
During Thursday’s matchup against the Newport Gulls, Rios stepped up to the plate in the fourth inning and hit a three-run home run to right field. The hit, which gave Rios his first home run of the season, also solidified a Blues 3-2 win over Newport.
He said while he was at bat he noticed the pitcher kept throwing curveballs, and after the pitcher threw a high fast ball, he came back with another curve. Rios said he was fortunate to hit it on the barrel and get his homer, although he didn’t know at first if the hit would be fair or a foul.
“It was a really big hit for me. It was the first one of the season and it really got us the win too,” Rios said. “It gave us the momentum and by us continuing to pitch well and play defense we were able to win the game. It was an exciting moment. I would say one of the most exciting moments of the year.”
Rios’ batting average currently leads the team at .327. He is also second in RBI and fifth in hits and runs. He said his success at the bat this season has come from his mindset of not limiting himself. He is taking what the pitcher is giving him and trying to use the whole field instead of just swinging for home runs.
“It’s been working out great so far,” he said. “I’m not trying to look for one particular pitch in one particular spot. If I focus on one spot I could be cutting myself off to other pitches. I’m reading it as he’s throwing it and trying to put a nice swing on it.”
Rios started playing organized baseball around 7 years old, but didn’t fall in love with it until around 10. While playing for his hometown of Newtown, his youth team made it to the World Series. He said the experience he had at the age playing other players around the country made him want to stick with baseball for as long as he could.
For Rios it’s always been about being close to home. After growing up in Newtown, Rios headed to Central Connecticut State University. Last summer, Rios traveled near Syracuse to play summer ball, but even with that experience he wanted to stay close to home and play closer to his family.
“It’s just amazing. People get to come see me that maybe couldn’t go out to my college games,” he said. “I think the best thing is seeing all of the kids that get to come out to the game. You get to sign autographs. I mean I was a kid that used to go to all the games so it’s really rewarding when you see all the fans come out.”
Rios said he feels lucky to be on the Blues and after the first week, they set the tone for winning this season.
“A lot of guys would love to trade places with me so I always feel lucky,” he said. “I don’t take it for granted. I’m lucky to be out there and when I am out there its just fun. We play as a team. It’s not a bunch of individuals. I feel like we’re a real team even though we’ve only been together for a month.”