Ryan McCormick has come a long way.
After a shaky sophomore season in which he wavered between the varsity and JV rosters, the Massapequa pitcher improved his junior year and was poised to be the ace of the varsity staff last season. McCormick, though, had mononucleosis, and missed all but three starts.
But the self-described "workhorse" never gave up.
McCormick stormed back this season as a senior, pitching 49 innings to earn a 6-1 record with a 0.43 ERA, a nearly 5:1 strikeouts-to-walk ratio, and an opponents' batting average of .155, helping to lead the Chiefs to an 18-4 record and an appearance in the Conference AA semifinals. He also pitched well enough to earn a scholarship to St. John's, and has now officially been recognized as the best pitcher in Nassau.
McCormick was named this year's Diamond Award winner as best pitcher by the Nassau County Baseball Coaches Association at an awards dinner Wednesday night at the Long Island Marriott in Uniondale. The other pitchers nominated were Joe Chiaramonte (MacArthur), Tyler Manez (Plainedge), Joe Siringo (Oyster Bay), Frank Trimarco (Calhoun) and Frank Ziegler (MacArthur).
"When I was in 10th grade I had trouble commanding my fastball and throwing strikes, and right before I got mono my junior year I felt great and was expected to be the ace of the staff but that brought me down," McCormick said. "I worked hard to get back and everything just came together this year."
McCormick is the second Massapequa player to win the award; it went to Brad Lyons in 1999. "It means everything," McCormick said. "It's definitely the biggest accomplishment and shows all the work I put in to being the best pitcher in Nassau County. It's an honor."
Massapequa coach Tom Sheedy said the development of McCormick's changeup this season made him a better pitcher. On May 7, McCormick pitched a three-hitter with nine strikeouts in a 5-0 win against Farmingdale, and on April 17 needed just 77 pitches to strike out 11 in another 5-0 three-hitter against Syosset.
"He's got a good power fastball and a hellacious curveball that we say is Division-I ready now," Sheedy said. "It breaks very sharp and even if you know it's coming, at the high school level, you really can't hit it."