It’s difficult to top Carey’s Anthony Catapano’s senior year.
After winning the Martone Award in December for Nassau’s best lineman, Catapano can add another trophy to his mantle. Wednesday night he earned the Diamond Award for the top baseball position player in Nassau at the all-star banquet at the Uniondale Marriott after being nominated for the honor last year.
“The perfect ending,” Catapano said. “Winning the Martone as the best lineman in Nassau County was the biggest accomplishment I’ve ever had in my life. And seeing that last year I was up for the Diamond Award, it’s a great thing to be back and to win, it’s just something special.”
Catapano, a 6-2, 290-pound four-year starter who batted .446 with seven home runs and 32 RBIs as a senior, won’t be an easy player for coach Mike Farina to replace. Farina’s also one of Carey’s football coaches.
“We know that’s not something you can just plug someone else in the three spot in the lineup or tackle on the offensive line for that matter,” Farina said with a laugh.
Catapano will play football at Stony Brook next year and said he was contacted about playing baseball as well, but that idea was “shot down real quick” by the Stony Brook football coaches.
Farina said Catapano has tremendous footwork at first base to go along with his power, saying the senior saved the Seahawks “10-15” errors this season to lead them to the Class A No. 1 seed and a 19-win season. At the plate, opponents were better off walking him than pitching a fastball to hit, which led to a .595 on-base percentage and 1.435 on-base plus slugging percentage.
“They’re the kind of hits when as soon as he makes contact, you just want to see how far it is,” Farina said. “You aren’t asking yourself ‘Is it gone or not?’”
As was the case in Carey’s 8-7 playoff victory against Island Trees in which Catapano belted a walk-off home run. But if you ask Catapano, he’d say anyone on the team could have come through.
“I really just couldn’t lose that game so I was glad I was up,” Catapano said. “But I had faith anyone else on my team that if they were up, they would have started the rally or had the walk-off.”
But the monstrous hits on the diamond and gridiron won’t be what Farina misses most. He’ll remembers Catapano’s work ethic and smile from practices to running little league clinics.
“He’s just a great kid to be around,” Farina said. “He’s always got good energy, he’s got a great personality.”