The Winningest High School Pitcher0
By Chuck Slater
By the time you read this, our area may boast the winningest pitcher in the history of high school baseball in New York State; or, perhaps, just the newest member of the exclusive 40-win club in the state. Which? No one is quite sure. And that includes the individual himself, right-hander Enzo Stefanoni of Rye Country Day School, who says, “I’m ready to come in whenever needed.”
After beating Hamden Hall at the end of April, Stefanoni, who will do his pitching for Harvard next season, was 6-0 for the season with an earned run average just about 1.00. He moved up to 38 high school wins, just one below the New York public school record of 39 totaled by Ichabod Crane’s Josh Horn in 2005. And he has at least half a dozen more starts as a senior; perhaps more with a 7-3 club that lost to Poly Prep in the playoff final last season. And a possible 40 victories? Since private school records are not kept as fully, no one knows how many, if any, are in the 40-win club, but it would be either exclusive or special.
Special is a description of Stefanoni given by Ryan Quinn, in his first season as the Rye Country Day School head coach after serving as the assistant coach. “Special? Yes,” said Quinn of Stefanoni, who travels from his Darien, Connecticut home each day.
“What is he good at? Just about everything,” the coach continued. “He’s already a college-level pitcher. He throws five pitches — 4-seam, 2-seam (fastballs), curve, slider, changeup. The incredible thing is he commands all of his pitches on any count.
“He’s incredible. Yes, he really is.” And equally good to work with. “He’s wonderful to work with,” said Quinn. “Always ready to help a teammate.” And the team. Stefanoni’s 37th win came as a reliever with two shutout innings against King School.
Ask him about the record he is approaching and Stefanoni gives you a team-oriented answer. “I like the fact I’m chasing a wins record,” he said, “because wins are a team statistic. It’s not a self-centered statistic like earned run average or innings pitched. When you win a game as a pitcher, you win for your team. That’s the nice thing about the record I’m going for.”
There are two more interesting footnotes for this right-hander who is going for the record before going to Harvard with his awesome 4.3 average. “Originally I was a knuckleballer because I didn’t throw so hard.” Stefanoni says. “I’ve always considered myself a pitcher, ever since leagues at six or seven.”
And for the last two years he has been throwing to a most familiar catcher, his younger brother Aldo (who also pitches). “He’s a freshman but he also caught his brother as an eighth grader,” said Quinn. “It’s definitely nice,” said Stefanoni. “There’s so much you can’t control in baseball. Throwing to a familiar target helps.”