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The 6-foot-1, 175-pound Zapata has touched 88 miles per hour on the radar gun, but it’s his command of three other pitches and pinpoint control that have baseball folks doing double-takes. He throws a slider, cutter and changeup with a fundamentally-sound delivery. One of Zapata’s defining moments this season came when he struck out Xaverian catcher Elvin Soto, a Pittsburgh signee, with a 2-2 changeup to end the game with the tying run on second in the bottom of the seventh. “(Pro) scouts came to see the catcher,” says Glennerster, “and they left talking about Andrew.” “I’m enjoying the interest,” says Zapata, a product of Mid-Island LL who credits his father, Kenneth, for his strong pitching foundation, “but I want to stay humble. I don’t want to get too big-headed.” In the next breath, he confesses his goal is to pitch in the major leagues. “On the days when I’m feeling lazy and don’t feel like doing my work, those three words — Major League Baseball — make me do whatever it is I don’t want to do at the time.” NCAA regulations prohibit schools from talking with the sophomore, but Poly Prep coach Matt Roventini said colleges already showing interest include St. John’s, Wake Forest and Boston College. He said pro scouts are also talking, although Zapata won’t be draft-eligible for another two years. That’s pretty heady stuff for a teen-ager who played quarterback for Poly Prep’s JV football team as a freshman and sophomore. He has decided to give up the game he took up at the age of six to focus entirely on baseball. “He’s an athlete,” said Roventini. “He controls all four of his pitches and keeps batters off-balance. He’s also humble, he knows getting better is important and he knows it’s a team game.” “He’s a great kid with a great work ethic,” says Glennerster. “His parents put school first. They’ll say, ‘Nice game, now go to your room and do your homework.’ What we’ve all been driving home to him is to take care of what he can take care of. The main goal is to get him into a good college on a scholarship. “He’s a special kid. When he’s on the mound, he becomes a 25-year-old man. When he steps off the mound, he’s a 16-year-old kid again.”

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May 2011  
May 2011  

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