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Athlete of the Week is Bellmore JFK pitcher Ryan Schechner

Bellmore JFK baseball pitcher Ryan Schechner is Newsday's

Bellmore JFK baseball pitcher Ryan Schechner is Newsday's Athlete of the Week. Credit: Ryan Schechner

Ryan Schechner embraces the responsibility that comes with standing on a pitcher’s mound.

There’s few places the Bellmore JFK junior would rather spend his time. When he’s standing 60 feet, 6 inches away from opposing hitters, Schechner feels and performs at his best.

“I feel like it’s my duty to carry my teammates on the mound with my talent and when you want to be out there, it makes something a lot easier to do,” Schechner said. “I just love baseball and I love pitching.”

And the results back that up, as Schechner has allowed one run on 11 hits with 38 strikeouts in 26 innings this year, including six shutout innings in a 5-0 win over Manhasset on Thursday to be named Newsday’s Athlete of the Week.

“I feel like I’m at my best and my stuff has just been working and my team has been making every play behind me,” Schechner said. “It’s just a lot better knowing the team is behind you and you just have to put the ball over the plate and they will make the plays.”

Whenever Schechner takes the ball, he not only sets the minds at ease of his teammates, but even the coaches.

“He’s just an incredible athlete on the mound,” said coach Mike Gattus. “He’s so talented and so competitive and no matter who we go up against, we have a shot to win the game because he’s so special on the mound.”

The junior has also shown his versatility on the mound, defeating teams with overpowering stuff and also pitching to contact. Schechner struck out 15 in a one-hitter in a 3-0 win over Garden City April 23, followed by his six shutout innings, recording one strikeout on a windy Thursday afternoon.

Garden City entered the contest undefeated in Nassau A-II, and as one of the consistently top programs in the area, Schechner was looking forward to the challenge.

“There’s certain teams you just want to beat and at that time, they were undefeated and that’s a team you want to beat,” Schechner said. “You know either they or you could be the best team depending on how you do.”

And while Schechner likes to keep it loose off the field, once he steps on the rubber, it’s time for business. Which is tremendous Bellmore JFK and terrifying for opponents.

“He’s a kid who likes to have a lot of fun but when it’s gameday and he’s on the mound, he’s completed dialed in,” Gattus said. “He’s 1,000 percent focused. When he’s on the mound and pitching, you can see he’s locked in.”

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