A swing and miss followed by the loud pop of a catcher's mitt is what normally happens when South Side's Andrew Misiaszek takes the mound. And it's been this way since the southpaw debuted in a playoff semifinal as a freshman against Plainedge.
Coach Tom Smith pulled up Misiaszek for the 2012 playoffs after what Smith called a "dominant" freshman season on JV. But Misiaszek, who pitched a no-hitter on JV, wasn't just there to watch. And he didn't shy away from the moment as he recorded two strikeouts and a pop-up in one relief inning.
"At that moment," Smith said, "I knew the next few years were going to be something special."
Special may be an understatement as Misiaszek went 5-1 as a senior this season with 93 strikeouts and five walks in 441/3 innings. He finished the regular season with an 0.67 ERA and 0.60 WHIP, and won the Diamond Award as the best pitcher in Nassau County Wednesday night at the Nassau baseball dinner at the Uniondale Marriott. He was a finalist for the award last season.
Smith first noticed Misiaszek at winter workouts in 2012 and said the ball "exploded" out of the 6-foot freshman's hand. But that doesn't mean the pitcher didn't have some nerves that day.
"My freshman year, I remember I was pretty intimidated by the whole varsity thing," Misiaszek said. "My sophomore year, being one of the starting pitchers, I was still a little intimidated still. But once the season got underway, I was more confident about it and that helped me those last couple of years on varsity."
Smith said the combination of that confidence and Misiaszek's pinpoint accuracy with the fastball, changeup and slider is what makes him such a great pitcher.
"Wherever we call for the location," Smith said, "he's able to put it there no matter what pitch."
Misiaszek pitched a one-hitter with 19 strikeouts in his second start this season, followed by a no-hitter with 18 strikeouts in his next start. His 19-strikeout performance set a school record, according to Smith.
"Everything was working that day," Misiaszek said about the 19-strikeout game. "It wasn't the goal but it worked out that way."
The Northeastern-bound senior is going home -- in his own way -- next fall. Misiaszek lived near Boston for three years before moving to Rockville Centre and is a Boston sports fan. He was initially attracted to the school for its academics -- with a 98.672 average, he's more than just a strong left arm with a fastball clocking in at 89 mph. Misiaszek called Northeastern "a perfect fit" both academically and athletically.
Misiaszek is humbled by winning the Diamond Award.
"It means a lot just to be recognized as one of the best pitchers in the county," Misiaszek said. "Just all my hard work has finally paid off."