David Leiderman only began to scratch the surface of his incredible baseball ability as a sophomore. The Bellmore JFK second baseman was a late season call up and recognized more for his defensive prowess than his offensive capability.
Wow, have things changed for Leiderman and the Cougars. Leiderman put on a hitting display in this his senior season, shattering the Bellmore JFK single season record for hits, and batting average.
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At one point Leiderman had 11 hits in 13 at-bats and went on such a torrid hitting streak that Bellmore JFK coach Eric Passman had to pinch himself to make sure it was really happening right before his very eyes.
"He transformed himself into a hitting machine like I've never seen in my 40 years of coaching baseball," Passman said. "He became a gap-to-gap hitter who was very difficult to strike out. Every at-bat became a battle and usually ended with a line drive somewhere."
For his accomplishments, David Leiderman was named the Diamond Award winner given to Nassau's top baseball player at the Nassau County Baseball Coaches Association banquet Wednesday night at the Long Island Marriott in Uniondale.
Leiderman finished his remarkable senior season with a .609 batting average, including 40 hits, 10 doubles, 25 RBI and 23 runs scored. He had 14 multi-hit games and hit safely in 18 of 19 regular season games.
"It's such a huge honor to be recognized with all the great players," said Leiderman, who will attend Hofstra on a baseball scholarship in the fall. "From the first time I was called up to play varsity to my last at-bat it's been a great experience. My success lies in long hours of hard work and repetition."
Leiderman credited endless hours of hitting lessons with coach Nick Clark for his ability to understand how to hit. He also thought his hours of infield work with coach Jim Goelz helped him hone his defensive ability.
"He has such soft hands and can turn two with the best of them," Passman said. "He's the complete player."
Working with a strength coach helped Leiderman sculpt his 6-2, 170-pound frame.
"But there's a ways to go," he laughed. "The work isn't over. I want the same success at the college level. And I'm so excited about Hofstra and the direction that program is headed."
Leiderman served notice that he was a clutch hitter last season when he propelled Bellmore JFK past Long Beach with a game-tying three-run double with two outs in the top of the seventh inning. Bellmore JFK went on to win the game in extra innings.
"I've learned how to drive the ball the other way and have a game plan when I go up to hit," Leiderman said. "I pride myself on hitting the ball the other way, especially with two strikes."
His father, Mike Leiderman, couldn't contain himself when his son's name was announced.
"It's just overwhelming," Mike Leiderman said. "To see your son put in the time and the effort and watch it pay off is incredible. I am so proud of my son. Our entire family is just blown away by his maturity and his ability."