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Half Hollow Hills West's Josh Wende gets keys to Citi Field after perfect scores on SAT, ACT

Half Hollow Hills West baseball player Josh Wende

Half Hollow Hills West baseball player Josh Wende poses for a photograph before a game between the New York Mets and the Toronto Blue Jays at Citi Field on Monday, June 15, 2015. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Perfection has its perks.

Josh Wende, the Half Hollow Hills West baseball player who earned a perfect score on the SAT and ACT, got to experience that firsthand Monday, when the Mets invited him and his family to hang out in the dugout before first pitch and watch the game from Section 109.

The leftfielder even sneaked in some one-on-one time with Matt Harvey's Dark Knight-emblazoned bat.

"I've always been a Mets fan," he said before pointing out R.A. Dickey (now with the Blue Jays) jogging around the outfield. "I'm actually standing in the Mets dugout . . . I was very surprised to get this chance."

Wende, who will be headed to Dartmouth, etched his fandom in the Mike Piazza era, he said, and it burgeoned when David Wright and Jose Reyes came up to join the team.

Dickey was a big favorite of his, and though he doesn't have a favorite player on the current team, he seems to like the mystique that surrounds Harvey. "He's the only one with his own bat," he said, reluctant to put it back in the bin. "And with Dickey, it was fun to watch him pitch, and that's what it's like with Matt Harvey. You want to watch."

Though batting practice was canceled because of bad weather, the Wende clan was upbeat. Josh was accompanied by his parents, Joe and Debbie, and his girlfriend, Christa Kiedaisch.

Joe and Debbie are Mets fans who celebrated the 1986 World Series as newlyweds, they said. They named their pet canary Mookie, after Debbie's favorite player, Mookie Wilson, and Joe was at a game just last Saturday.

It's unsurprising that their son grew up to love baseball, and, Debbie said, he's feeling the loss of his varsity career and the camaraderie that came with it. "He's missing it a lot," she said.

Though Josh originally had no plans to play in college, he may be reconsidering. Hills West, Suffolk League IV champion, was ousted from the playoffs in its first round of play, despite earning a bye into the championship round. The end of that era has him toying with the idea of starting anew in college. "I'll probably play club baseball," he said. "But I wouldn't rule out trying out for the Dartmouth baseball team. I mean, there's no guarantee that I'd make it as a walk-on, but I might try."

For now, though, he plans to take it easy this summer . . . and his perfect scores have led to yet another unexpected opportunity. "I'm tutoring," Wende said. "It's just kind of word-of-mouth and it just spread . . . I wasn't really looking for a full-time job."

The subject?

"SATs and ACTs," he said. "I guess I have the credentials."

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