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Poly Prep hurler and Staten Islander Andrew Zapata enjoying meteoric rise Jim Waggoner, May 20, 2011 8:29 a.m.

Poly Prep sophomore Andrew Zapata is 5-0 this spring with a 0.52 ERA and 38 Ks in 40 1/3 innings.

He’s 16 years old, lives in Great Kills, and can throw a baseball nearly 90 miles per hour. Meet precocious Poly Prep sophomore right-hander Andrew Zapata, who has exploded on the high school baseball scene with a trail of college recruiters and pro scouts not far behind with notebooks in hand. “He’s definitely on the radar,” says former College of Staten Island shortstop Bobby Glennerster, who runs the local New York Dynasty, a summer travel program. “People are asking, ‘Where did this kid come from?’ ” Zapata has been busy grabbing headlines with one dazzling pitching performance after another, including a recent two-hit shutout in a 1-0 win over PSAL power George Washington. He blanked CHSAA contender Xaverian 1-0 with a three-hitter and owns victories over Island contenders Monsignor Farrell and St. Joseph by-the-Sea. The triumph over nationally-ranked George Washing ton raised his record to 5-0, with five shutouts in six starts, and dropped his earned run average to a miniscule 0.52 in 40 1/3 innings. He has 38 strikeouts while walking seven. Poly Prep has zipped to a 20-1 record and No. 1 ranking in the city, thanks in great part to its fastrising pitching ace. The Blue Devils clinched their fifth straight Ivy Prep League title and lean on senior shortstop Joe Calabrese, a Fordham-bound Staten Islander, for offensive punch. Calabrese’s younger brother, Rob, plays on the varsity while Zapata’s younger brother, Matt, is on the JV. Both are freshmen. Zapata sat out his freshman season with a back injury, part of the reason for this spring’s sudden rise. He attracted attention last August with a stunning 2-1 victory for New York Dynasty over a collection of all-stars at Long Island’s Baseball Heaven, where a pack of scouts migrated to behind the backstop as the game unfolded. “That’s the game where it all started,” said Glennerster, who has coached Zapata the past two summers and has younger brothers Matt and Nick in the program. “By the fourth or fifth inning, everyone was watching our game. Andrew pitched seven innings ... two hits, no walks, eight strikeouts ... and we won 2-1. And the run was unearned.”

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May 2011