Nick Pepitone struck out the side in Bryan Bonin Grand...

Nick Pepitone struck out the side in Bryan Bonin Grand Slam Challenge on Tuesday, June 11, 2024. Credit: Melissa Filippone

Not too long ago, Nick Pepitone was questioning whether or not baseball was for him.

“A couple of years ago, I really kind of lost love for the sport,” he said.

Since then, the Connetquot pitcher embraced his position on the mound, stunning Suffolk’s most competitive league in the process.

“It was my parents and my coaches who really pushed me forward,” Pepitone said. “Now, since I've been playing with the high school, I've loved our seasons. It's really brought me that love and spirit again.”

On Tuesday night, Pepitone had the opportunity to represent his high school at the Bryan Bonin Grand Slam Challenge senior all-star game at Farmingdale State. He pitched one inning and struck out three batters.

“It was a huge honor,” Pepitone said. “I mean, all my teammates are really amazing and for me to get chosen was really surprising. I’m realizing how much good the sport has done for me and how appreciative I am for this.”

For his performance, Pepitone was named the game’s Outstanding Pitcher and Newsday’s Athlete of the Week.

Connetquot (15–6) ranked second in Suffolk League II, trailing only Sachem North. Coach Robert Burger said much of the season’s success can be attributed to Pepitone’s reliability.

In the 47 innings Pepitone pitched this season, he struck out 74 batters and allowed only 24 hits.

“It's comforting as a baseball coach to give a guy the ball and know the outcome is going to be good,” Burger said. “Nick is a special kid. When he says, ‘Coach, I got you,’ the whole team knows good things are gonna happen.”

“When he takes the mound, I can just tell he's going to win us the game,” said senior Ryan Kiendle, Pepitone’s longtime teammate. “He has that dog mentality and does whatever he needs to do to get the job done.”

Pepitone’s other talents are rooted in football. The quarterback capped his senior season with 1,055 passing yards on 71 completions and 452 rushing yards on 75 attempts. He tallied 12 touchdown passes and five scoring runs this fall.

“Most of the pitchers on our staff are (on club teams) in Georgia; they're in Florida; they're in Alabama,” Burger said. “Nick never did any of that. He just picks up a ball and throws.”

The dual-sport standout is committed to play football at Endicott College, but said he also plans to try out for the school's No. 1 ranked Division III baseball team. Without the support of his coaches and teammates, Pepitone said he might not be playing baseball at all.

“Whenever I was out there, I just did my job,” Pepitone said. “It always feels great playing with my teammates. I was always so confident because I know how good my team is. I mean, confidence is key and whenever I go out on the mound in front of my team, I feel like I can accomplish anything.”

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