Zaccagnino delivers for John F. Kennedy
Most high school pitchers aren't Ben Zaccagnino.
John F. Kennedy's senior ace faced such a situation in the top of the seventh inning in a recent ECIC-IV showdown with the Bears clinging to a 6-5 lead in the top of the seventh against Alden. As he's done so many times for the Bears, he figured out a way to escape with the victory.
"I'll tell you what," JFK coach Casey Snyder said, "to have second and third and one out and their 2-3 hitters coming up, that's a tough spot. And have a dribbler back to the mound and then Ben strike out the 3 hitter, that's coming through big. That's Ben."
Zaccagnino has delivered time and time again for the Bears in his varsity career, which began in his sophomore year. Last year's ECIC-IV Player of the Year is looking to close his high school career with similar success.
"This year, I'm just looking to throw my game," he said. "I've been pitching my whole life and that's what going to college to do. I'm going all out and doing everything I have to do."
While the pitching success has continued, his bat has been a little slower to heat up this spring. But that's not expected to continue - after all, he hit .565 last year. And as long as his teammates are scoring enough runs, Zaccagnino's not concerned about his numbers.
"I personally haven't been hitting the ball, but if I can help the team by pitching well and driving in a run here and there, that’s all I worry about," Zaccagnino said. "It's a team win, that's all I worry about."
Next season, Zaccagnino will have even more to worry about - like competing at the Division I level. He's going to play next season at Niagara University for head coach Rob McCoy and the Purple Eagles.
"I'm really looking forward to playing for Coach (Rob) McCoy and (assistant) Coach (Eric) Peterson, they're really good guys. Playing Division I is awesome, I'm ready for the challenge. I can't wait."
And as good as Zaccagnino has been for the Bears, it's scary to think the best is yet to come. Snyder thinks his ace right-hander will be even better at the next level.
"He's a young senior and he's just starting to fill into his body," the coach said. "They're going to put him on a weight training and bulk him up a little bit and he's going to gain some miles-per-hour. I think he's going to be real good for them."
First things first, however, for Zaccagnino. He helped the Bears to a division title as a junior and expects the same - and maybe even more - this season.
"I have high expectations for this team," he said. "I love each and every one of these guys and they're all good players."