This weekend, Mark Bonaiuto was inducted into the Brandeis Athletics Hall of Fame for the second time. Bonaiuto, who grew up in Salem and played football and baseball at St. John’s Prep, was previously inducted as a member of the best baseball team in the history of the university, the 1977 team that finished second in the country in Division 3.
Bonaiuto was the starting shortstop on that squad and a two time captain of the Judges. He helped lead the team to three straight Greater Boston League titles, playing Division 1 teams like BC, Harvard, and Northeastern. Bonaiuto hit .339 in his senior year when he was named MVP of the New England Regional Tournament. He was a two time All GBL selection.
After beating Westfield State, 5-3 to win the regional, Brandeis advanced to the World Series in Marietta, Ohio. They lost the first game to Cal State Stanislaus and then won three in a row to advance to the finals before losing to Cal State again.
The 15th induction ceremony will be held on campus with six individuals and two teams being honored.
“It’s a pretty cool honor,” said Bonaiuto, who now lives in West Barnstable with his wife Marianne, who also grew up in Salem. “Back in 2006 our whole team was inducted, and I know a couple of others have gone in as individuals. I got a call from a friend of mine, who is on the committee telling me about it. We had a very talented team, but when I first came to the school they hadn’t had a winning season in the last 20 years.
“In 1977 we won 26 games, and that was more wins than they’d had in the 20 years before I got there. We had a great group of players and coaches that were able to do something that has never been done again – get to the (NCAA) national tournament. It was double elimination which was a good thing because we were blown out in the first game, but then came back to win a bunch to get to the finals. To be ranked No. 1 in the Northeast and No. 2 in the country is quite an accomplishment.”