Matt Bolton of Division takes his base on ball four...

Matt Bolton of Division takes his base on ball four during Game 1 of the Nassau Class AA baseball final on May 25 at Farmingdale State College.. Credit: Dawn McCormick

The plan was to issue some free passes to Matt Bolton, but it just wasn’t possible this time.

Hauppauge owned a two-run lead over Division in the Long Island Class AA baseball championship game. The Blue Dragons were down to their last out when Bolton stepped into the box.

“He’s the guy in their lineup that everybody we talked to warned us about,” Hauppauge coach Josh Gutes said. “We were going to intentionally walk him whenever we could. We intentionally walked him in the first inning.

“Of course … down two in the seventh with a guy at first, we had to pitch to him. And it was scary off the bat and luckily it fell just short of the wall for an RBI double. But he’s an unbelievable baseball player and an absolute game changer.”

Division lost, 4-3. But this was still a 22-6 team and a Nassau championship team for the second straight season.

Matt Bolton of Division poses for a portrait after winning the Don Long Diamond Award for position players at the Nassau County Baseball Coaches Dinner held at the Long Island Marriott in Uniondale on Wednesday, June 12, 2024. Credit: James Escher

Bolton’s efforts stood out.

The senior centerfielder is the 2024 Don Lang Diamond Award winner, given to Nassau's best position player. It is awarded by the Nassau County Baseball Coaches Association.

The announcement came Wednesday night during the coaches’ awards dinner at the Marriott in Uniondale. Bolton became Division’s third Diamond honoree in three years.

“First of all, he’s the best player I’ve ever coached,” said Tom Tuttle, who has been with Division’s program for 27 years, the last 17 as the varsity’s head coach. “He’s a five-tool high school player. He’s an elite defender in centerfield. His year was ridiculous this year.”

“Ridiculous” looked like this: .558 batting average, 1.012 slugging percentage, 10 doubles, four triples, seven homers, 36 RBIs, 48 hits, 41 runs, 20 steals.

Tuttle said Division has “a great player development program,” and Bolton developed in the weight room. Tuttle said he added about 10-15 pounds of muscle between his sophomore and junior years and about 15 pounds more between his junior and senior years.

He’s now about 195, according to Tuttle. Bolton had no homers across his first two seasons, then 14 across the last two.

“He’s really not a home-run guy,” Tuttle said. “He’s a great bat-to-ball guy … He has plus speed.”

His college commitment is to Binghamton. But he had major-league scouts looking at him.

“If there were more rounds in the draft (than 20), he would get drafted,” Tuttle said. “… I can definitely see him (eventually) getting drafted.”

YOU'VE BEEN SELECTED

FOR OUR BEST OFFER ONLY 25¢ for 5 months

Unlimited Digital Access.

cancel anytime.