A big hit

Bensalem’s Andrew Amaro named assistant baseball coach at La Salle University

By Samantha Bambino

The Times

At only 3 years old, Andrew Amaro already had a baseball in his hand.

With his family’s 100-year legacy playing America’s favorite pastime, a love for the game was in his blood. Though he initially set out to play professional ball, Amaro quickly realized his passion lied elsewhere. He wanted to coach. Recently making his dream a reality, the Bensalem native was named assistant baseball coach at La Salle University.

Life on the diamond: Andrew Amaro, the nephew of former Philadelphia Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., was drafted by the Phillies in the 47th round of the 2011 draft and was drafted by the team once again in 2015. PHOTO: University of Delaware Blue Hens

Growing up, Amaro was surrounded by relatives in professional baseball, including his grandfather and uncle, who is for mer major leaguer, Philadelphia Phillies general manager and current Boston Red Sox coach Ruben Amaro Jr. Without question, Amaro knew he wanted to follow in their footsteps and continue the family tradition.

“It had always been my favorite thing to do,” he said of the sport.

The vast experience of his family in both playing and coaching allowed Amaro to witness all ends of the baseball spectrum. Though he was a solid player, he was drawn to the strategy and found himself helping his teammates apply skills to their game they didn’t realize they possessed.

“I always used my baseball knowledge to play above my strengths,” he said. “I was the baseball smart guy.”

Amaro kicked off his college career at the University of Maryland, where he played three seasons with the Terrapins from 2011–2014 before transferring to the University of Tampa. During the 2015 season, he batted .320 with three home runs, 25 RBIs and a team-high 19 stolen bases, earning All-Sunshine State Conference honors and leading the team to a 43–13 record and NCAA Division II national title. Amaro earned his bachelor’s degree in communications that same year from the University of Tampa.

In 2016, Amaro served as an assistant coach in Tampa for head coach Joe Urso. While there, he worked with the outfielders, served as an advance scout and directed baserunning and bunting. The Spartans went 41–10 during the 2016 season and advanced to the NCAA South Regional.

Throughout these first few years of coaching, Amaro tried his hand at minor league ball as well. Originally drafted by the Phillies in the 47th round of the 2011 Major League Baseball Draft, he was drafted by the team once again in 2015, this time in the 35th round.

He spent one season in the minors, competing for the Lakewood Blue Claws and Williamsport Crosscutters, but coaching was still calling to him. With his now built-up resume of experience, Amaro landed another assistant coaching opportunity at the University of Delaware for the 2017 season. With Delaware being a Division I school, he was ready to take his career to the next level.

Under Amaro’s leadership, Delaware’s offense compiled a .310 batting average, an on-base percentage of .408 and a .478 team slugging percentage. The Blue Hens had 11 All-Colonial Athletic Association selections last year, 34 victories and their first CAA championship, which earned them a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

During his time in Delaware, Amaro looked at his fellow coaches as mentors and took note of how they found unique ways to get the most out of each player on the team. As he gears up for his first season at La Salle University, he plans to implement all he’s learned so far. Though he has been constantly on the phone recruiting new players, he wants to evaluate the talent he already has on the Explorers with a fresh perspective.

“I want to change the way we go about things,” he said. “Some players have lost the sense of pushing themselves to be great and I’m looking to restore that.”

As fall training draws closer, Amaro can’t wait to continue living out his dream of coaching, all while being a little closer to home.

“I’m extremely excited to join the coaching staff at La Salle,” he said. “I look forward to building a winner here in my hometown of Philadelphia with Coach (David) Miller.” ••

Samantha Bambino can be reached at sbambino@newspapermediagroup.com