Concato brothers bring consistency on the mound for Dartmouth

by Gayne Kalustian | 4/16/14 4:09pm

The Concato name doesn’t hang in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The family holds no Division I record and is represented by no athletes in the major leagues. In fact, when brothers Louis Concato ’14 and Mike Concato ’17 were born to two New York University-educated physicians, it seemed more likely that they would grow up to perform open heart surgery than open an inning on the mound.

But now, braving uncharted territory for the Connecticut-based family, the two brothers represent cornerstones of Dartmouth’s starting pitching rotation, together throwing 67.1 innings for the Big Green so far this season.

The two began their baseball careers after trying various other sports. They settled on America’s favorite pastime as a result of the baseball-entrenched culture of Woodbridge, Conn., and the influence of their grandmother, who was a diehard Yankee fan who grew up two blocks from the pinstripes’ New York City stadium.

“She has followed us in depth throughout our careers, and she’s definitely been one of our biggest supporters and a source of motivation,” Louis Concato said.

Before settling in Hanover, both brothers dominated their local Class LL baseball league at Amity Regional High School. Louis Concato, captain of his team his senior year, helped bring the Spartans to a 20-0 regular season record before making first team all-state.

The memories from that season, he said, especially helped him develop as a player after his co-captain from that team, Joe Ciancola, then at the University of Rhode Island, died as a sophomore in college.

“He was one of my close friends, and we were kind of the backbone of that season,” he said. “It’s kind of been a constant reminder of always trying to get better and not taking days for granted. It’s really helped me to appreciate what baseball has to offer.”

Younger brother Mike Concato joined the all-state team for both his junior and senior years before pitching a no-hitter against Greenwich High School in the quarterfinals of the state tournament. He would go on to take the team to a 4-0 victory in the Championship game against Southington High School.

Their family members — especially their parents — have supported the two since their Little League days, coming to as many games as possible throughout their lengthy careers, Mike Concato said.

When the 2014 season began, which was Louis Concato’s final and Mike Concato’s first for the Big Green, the two brothers suited up together, working to help fill a void left by the departure of four of the team’s starters.

While the team worked out the kinks in its rotation during the preseason, 18-year-old Mike Concato got his first college start on the mound — the only freshman on the team to do so this season — against the University of Kansas. His strong performance on the mound, allowing two runs in eight innings of work against the then-No. 18 team in the nation, left no room for doubt about his feasibility in college.

Making his collegiate debut against the Jayhawks was intimidating, Mike Concato said.

“I worry about the things that I can control,” he said. “When I was warming up, I was looking at my fastball and making mixed pitches. Putting a freshman in against a team like that meant a lot. I think it means that my coach has confidence in me. Knowing that he trusts me to give me the ball against a team like that gives me confidence.”

As the season progressed, the two brothers took their positions in the rotation. Louis Concato, the team’s most experienced starter, has racked up the lowest ERA on the team with a 3.48 mark. Teammate Ryan Toimil ’14 said the elder Concato’s success stems from his relentless pursuit of perfection.

“Louis has always worked hard,” he said. “He’s always tried to improve on himself. He’s always tried to pinpoint his weaknesses and fix them.”

As Louis Concato enters the final weeks of his last season for Dartmouth, he considers the aspects of the game that kept him going all those years. He cited the competitiveness, the challenge to his mental and physical abilities and the team environment that he has found at Dartmouth.

But while one brother is looking to hang up his glove for the last time, another is stepping into the limelight, following a legacy that was forged not by generations of ballplayers but by the big brother with whom he played catch as a kid.

The team has already come to depend on Mike Concato, Toimil said.

“He’s a great pitcher, just like his brother,” he said. “He’s got a lot of talent, and he’ll obviously only get better. He’ll be able to make a name for himself in the coming years instead of just being Louis’s younger brother.”