Weekly Feature



2018-07-05 / Sports

Legends’ Giordano named Pitcher of the Year

by PATRICK J. NAGY
Reporter


Max Giordano was almost an unhittable pitcher in his senior season at Lancaster. In four league games, the 2018 All-Bee Baseball Pitcher of the Year threw 22 innings, finished with a 3-0 record, posted a .318 ERA and fired 35 strikeouts. Including non-league games, Giordano threw 29 innings, tallied a .483 ERA and recorded 44 strikeouts. Photo by Jason Nadolinski Purchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Max Giordano was almost an unhittable pitcher in his senior season at Lancaster. In four league games, the 2018 All-Bee Baseball Pitcher of the Year threw 22 innings, finished with a 3-0 record, posted a .318 ERA and fired 35 strikeouts. Including non-league games, Giordano threw 29 innings, tallied a .483 ERA and recorded 44 strikeouts. Photo by Jason Nadolinski Purchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Lancaster baseball coach Mark Dalfonso has been blessed with talented pitchers in recent years, and senior Max Giordano is right at the top of the list.

The 2018 All-Bee Baseball Pitcher of the Year has thrown for Lancaster since his sophomore year and has been a starter in the infield since eighth grade.

“It means a lot to be the Pitcher of the Year,” Giordano said. “It shows all of the hard work that you put in the offseason has paid off. After five years on varsity, it all came together in my last year.”

“To start five years on an AA school, I don’t know if that will ever be done again,” Dalfonso said. “It’s going to be crazy next year not seeing him here.”

Giordano certainly had the ability to pitch as an eighth-grader and freshman, but Lancaster was loaded with so much pitching depth that he had to wait until he was a sophomore to finally get his chance.

“I used to be a catcher so I had a good arm,” Giordano said. “When I got to eighth grade, [assistant] coach [Derek] Jozwiak put me on the mound and told me I was going to be his project for the next five years.”

Giordano overpowered hitters with high velocity on his pitches. His fastball was clocked between 87 and 91 miles per hour. For his senior year he worked on improving his change-up and curve ball.

It paid off. In 22 innings over four league games, Giordano went 3-0, recorded a .318 ERA and posted 35 strikeouts. Including non-league games, Giordano threw 29 innings and tallied a .483 ERA with 44 strikeouts.

“I’d throw hard, but this year I worked on hitting my spots and throwing batters off balance,” said Giordano, who also thanked John Barberio from Lancaster-Depew Baseball and Brandon Bielicki from the Niagara Thunderwolves Showcase Program for their help. “I think this was probably my best year because I found my curve ball a lot and would find the outside corner with a change-up or another fastball.”

Giordano’s season started with his first career perfect game, a five-inning, 11-0 non-league win against East Grandi in Vero Beach, Florida, on April 6. Giordano struck out eight batters.

“I struck out the last kid, and everybody was running towards me and I said, ‘What’s going on?’ and they said I threw a perfect game,” Giordano said. “I didn’t even realize it.”

Another one of Giordano’s best outings came when he tossed a two-hitter with 14 strikeouts in the Legends’ 7-0 win over Orchard Park on May 5.

“My breaking ball was on a lot, and when I needed to throw a fastball they weren’t touching it that day,” Giordano said. “My fielders also made great plays on defense.”

Giordano, named a team captain for the postseason, said he could not have had as much success without the support of a strong defense.

“I have been playing with [Ben] Damiani, [Ryan] Mansell, [Alec] Tamburri and [John] Rogowski since I was 12 years old,” Giordano said. “Any ball that went in the outfield or on the ground in the infield I knew they would get. It made my job a lot easier on the mound knowing I had a good defense behind me.”

When he was not pitching, Giordano played at shortstop and batted .392, hit five doubles, two triples and three home runs, tallied 21 RBIs and scored 23 runs in 12 league games and four postseason contests. He previously started at third base from his eighth grade to junior year.

Giordano leaves Lancaster as a four-time ECIC Division I and a three-time Section VI Class AA champion. He started in 101 games.

“He was the guy that we looked to for leadership and coming through in the clutch,” Dalfonso said.

Giordano will play at shortstop or as a relief pitcher at Niagara University next year, but he has been on the radar of pro scouts.

Giordano was invited to a pre-draft open tryout with the Philadelphia Phillies, but he could not attend because the Legends were still playing in the postseason.

Giordano also received interest from the New York Mets, Cincinnati Reds, Oakland Athletics, Milwaukee Brewers and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Dalfonso said pro scouts started noticing Giordano last year when they were scouting 2017 Lancaster graduate Leugim Castillo, who was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 17th round of the 2017 Major League Baseball Draft.

“It’s a cool experience to think a pro scout is looking at me, but it’s also nerve-wracking,” he said. “I am hoping my baseball career is not over after my time with Niagara. Knowing that I got looks in high school gives me even more drive to get drafted.”

email: pnagy@beenews.com

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