Written by Vinny Messana Thursday, 29 May 2014 00:00
Every coach preaches that it takes all 25 guys to win, that it’s a team effort and not a single player will receive special treatment. But what is usually forgotten is that sometimes there is one player that can carry a team and that the team needs him to step up when it matters the most.
Although he is less than two years removed from being an All-County high school player, Alex Weingarten has proven to be that type of player for the Farmingdale Rams. The south shore native has been their most reliable arm for the past two seasons, he played a huge role in winning their seventh consecutive conference championship and he will need to do so in the regionals. He is used so frequently for one reason; the bigger the situation is, the better he pitches.
“I really noticed that I can handle the big games and situations in my sophomore year of high school when I got moved up to varsity,” he said. “Before I knew it, I was pitching against some of the best schools in Nassau County with great success. Every game was a big moment that year and I feel that matured me to handle those situations on the mound. My whole life I’ve lived for those big moments and I take it a a chance to prove myself,” he added.
Whether you look at the stats, game logs or watch in person, it’s clear the kid is not afraid of the big moment. He was trusted enough to face perennial powerhouses in Wheaton, Southern Maine and Western New England early on in his freshman season. As the season wore on,
he became trusted enough to secure small-leads in pressure spots in addition to being a starter.
He threw a combined eight shutout innings in the conference playoffs against Old Westbury and another 5.1 in the regionals against Neumann and Ithaca.
During the 2014 conference playoffs, he threw seven shutout innings against Mount St. Vincent in the first game, a 14-0 win.
While many dominant college pitchers come from large schools with big crowds, Weingarten comes from Lynbrook, a school with a total enrollment of less than 1,000.
“It definitely made it more challenging,” he said in regards to making an impact at a small school. “I knew making a name for myself was not going to be easy,” he added. “I just focused on getting better each day and tried to prove myself every time I got on the field.”
Weingarten praised the coaches who put in the effort of contacting schools for him and allowing him the opportunity to play ball at the next level. He noted that although there were scholarship offers at higher levels, he ultimately decided Farmingdale was the best fit due to the proximity to home and he “couldn’t be happier about the decision”.
He credits his father whom he spent “hours and hours” with on the baseball field and “I wouldn’t be where I am today without him.”
His father started him young.
“I’ve been playing sports since before I could walk,” he said.
Speaking of not walking, that’s what hitters are not doing against him. He compiled 1.76 BB/9 last year which ranked among the best ratios in program history. He also finished with a sparkling 2.47 ERA, which landed him a spot as third-team All-Region.
This season has been even better. He has been light out, compiling a 1.60 ERA in 50 innings to go along with a 5-1 record. He has only walked 16 batters during that time.
The Farmingdale baseball program has had some tremendous pitchers in recent years. Tom Heeman, Chris Phelan, CJ Bula and Mike Dolce are just some of the pitchers that have gone on to win postseason wards such as All-Region or Skyline Pitcher of the Year. With a strong starting pitcher, a team can go a long way.
He feels that the team is primed for great success.
“The chemistry is great,” he said. “Our motto is ‘hold the rope’ and we know it’s going to take everyone to win the championship.”
It may take everyone to win the championship, but it will also take every bit of Weingarten’s tenacity to put them over the top.