Hunter Colagrande of Kings Park poses with the Yastrzemski Award during...

Hunter Colagrande of Kings Park poses with the Yastrzemski Award during the Suffolk baseball awards dinner on Monday at Villa Lombardi's. Credit: Tom Lambui

Kings Park senior pitcher Hunter Colagrande lost the majority of his sophomore season to injury.

What came after that was a sight to behold.

“We kind of sat down and we said, ‘This could go one of two ways, and we have a feeling that this is gonna go the way to really jump-start even a whole different level to your game,’  ” Kings Park coach Andrew Abreu recalled. “And it really did. I felt like that moment was a turning point for him and he just outworked everybody, took pride in what it takes to be successful and really never settled.”

Colagrande followed an undefeated junior season with pure dominance this spring.

The righthander, who helped lead the Kingsmen to their first state final appearance, posted a 10-0 record with 104 strikeouts in 68 2⁄3 innings, a 0.30 ERA, a 0.63 WHIP and a .101 batting average against.

On Monday, he claimed the 56th Carl Yastrzemski Award, presented to Suffolk’s most outstanding player, at the Suffolk County Baseball Coaches Association dinner at Villa Lombardi’s in Holbrook.

“Hunter’s our guy,” Kings Park catcher Vincenzo Buffolino said after the Kingsmen’s 3-2 win over Clarke in the Long Island Class A championship game on June 1. “He always shoves. He’s always on. All of his stuff, he’s a great pitcher. He’s our dude, we rely on him .  .  . He was phenomenal, almost untouchable. Just working with him every game, we have a good relationship pitcher-catcher. It’s just amazing.”

Colagrande holds the program records for single-season wins (10) and career ERA (0.53), according to Abreu.

Colagrande thrived as a freshman on the junior varsity in 2021 and pitched one relief inning on varsity in 2022. He missed the rest of the year with “some arm issues, tendinitis mixed with a shoulder-impingement type of thing,” according to Abreu.

The junior version of Colagrande, stronger and healthy, had a 6-0 record, a 1.08 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 50 innings. The Stony Brook commit earned Newsday All-Long Island second-team honors and the confidence to become even better in 2024.

“The difference between last year and this year was just the confidence and success from the previous year,” Abreu said. “Just knowing that he belonged and knowing that he was the dude from the first pitch of the season.”

Abreu praised how Colagrande built around his “dominant fastball” that touched as high as 94 mph and sat between 90 and 92 for most of the year. He developed a cutter during the winter and his curveball became sharper.

Colagrande pitched a 14-strikeout no-hitter on April 22, a 3-0 win over Hampton Bays.

“He’s overpowering,” Hampton Bays coach Rob Pinney said. “And then when you least expect it, he drops in the curve. He was almost unhittable the whole season.”

He also threw the first five innings of a season-opening combined no-hitter, a 4-0 win over Mount Sinai on March 25.

Colagrande dialed it up in four postseason outings, going 3-0 and allowing one earned run with 39 strikeouts in 27 1⁄3 innings.

Said Abreu: “In a 10-0 season and probably what I would think could be one of the most dominant pitching seasons of all time on Long Island, he never made it about him — ever.”

Yastrzemski Award winners:

2024: Hunter Colagrande, Kings Park

2023: Josh Knoth, Patchogue-Medford

2022: Josh Knoth, Patchogue-Medford

2021: Dylan Johnson, Newfield

2019: Max Nielsen, Ward Melville

2018: Matt Hogan, Half Hollow Hills East

2017: Brian Morrell, Shoreham-Wading River

2016: Brian Morell, Shoreham-Wading River

2015: Nick Fanti, Hauppauge

2014: Jesse Berardi, Commack

2013: Matt Crohan, Riverhead

2012: Mike O'Reilly, Shoreham-Wading River

2011: Alec Sole, Sachem North

2010: Jimmy Brigga, Lindenhurst

2009: Steven Matz, Ward Melville

2008: Marcus Stroman, Patchogue-Medford

2007: A.J. Nunziato, Ward Melville

2006: Glenn Gibson, Center Moriches

2005: David Collado, Copiague

2004: Brian Johnson, East Islip

2003: Estee Harris, Central Islip

2002: Scott King, Connetquot

2001: Tim Layden, Deer Park

2000: Jason Gouge, East Islip

1999: Dominick Ambrosini, Connetquot

1998: Rick Riccobono, Commack

1997: Rob Rizzo, Half Hollow Hills West

1996: Mark Frole, Lindenhurst

1995: Mike Cabales, East Islip

1994: Ross Gload, East Hampton

1993: Bill Koch, West Babylon

1992: Mike Ciminello, Smithtown East

1991: John Garside, Glenn

1990: Anthony Graffanino, East Islip

1989: Brady Forseth, Smithtown West

1988: Jim Mecir, Smithtown East

1987: Keith Osik, Shoreham-Wading River

1986: John Thoden, Patchogue-Medford

1985: Ron Witmeyer, East Islip

1984: Ron Witmeyer, East Islip

1983: Rich Vichroski, Northport

1982: Chris Bayer, West Islip

1981: Raf Cepeda, Comsewogue

1980: Kevin Baugh, Deer Park

1979: Boomer Esiason, East Islip

1978: Neal Heaton, Sachem

1977: Jim Walker, Whitman

1976: Victor Nicotra, Islip

1975: Mike Heiser, Whitman

1974: Al Willet, Patchogue

1973: Len Locascio, Commack South

1972: Neal O'Hara, Northport

1971: Tom Veryzer, Islip

1970: Don DeMola, Commack South

1969: Richard Walsh, Central Islip

1968: Skip Borowicz, Huntington


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