Baseball Player of the Year: Don Bosco's Eric Pfisterer
Saturday, June 21, 2008
BY ANDREW GROSS STAFF WRITER
By Eric Pfisterer’s own admission, Mike Dennhardt was the Don Bosco ace and Steve Proscia was the Ironmen’s top power hitter.
But Pfisterer is The Record’s baseball player of the year because the senior from Saddle River compiled such lofty statistics as both a pitcher and first baseman.
“Eric was a special player,” said Don Bosco coach Greg Butler, who usually prefers his pitchers to not play the field or hit. “I have certain beliefs. But I’m also open-minded to certain things if I think a player can handle doing both.”
The left-hander, who has a scholarship to Duke and was drafted in the 15th round by the Cincinnati Reds, did more than just handle his dual role as the Ironmen completed a historic 33-0 season that included both Bergen County and Non-Public A championships.
On the mound, Pfisterer matched Dennhardt’s 10-0 record while compiling a 1.31 ERA and leading the team with 91 strikeouts in 59 innings. And batting fifth behind Proscia, Pfisterer had a team-leading 48 RBI while hitting .525 with 10 doubles and four home runs.
“I’ve always been a hitter growing up – I had Little League records for home runs and hitting ability,” Pfisterer said. “But being a left-hander, they threw me on the mound.”
Pfisterer knows the Reds project him as a pitcher. That’s why he’s still wavering on whether he’d prefer to turn pro – assuming the Reds make an offer that interests him - or play collegiately. Pfisterer has until Aug. 15 to decide.
He said the Duke coaches have told him he’d be used as a designated hitter and a part-time first baseman as well as a pitcher his freshman year, with a chance of winning the full-time first baseball’s job by his sophomore season.
And if this season has proven anything, it’s that Pfisterer thrives when faced with internal competition.
“Coach Butler can say he’s got a No. 1 right-hander and a No. 1 left-hander and that pushed me to live up to,” said Pfisterer, who throws a fastball in the upper 80s mixed with a slow curveball. “Proscia is tremendous and he plays every day. I had 48 RBI and I bet 35 of them were Proscia.”
But Butler said it wasn’t Pfisterer’s statistics that impressed him most.
“When he was on the mound or had a big at-bat, you just knew he was going to rise to that,” Butler said. “Not just that he would rise up to the situation. But that he wanted to be in that situation. He just epitomized the heart of a champion.”