Two-Sport Standout Hurls Thomas Jefferson Into Baseball Playoffs
But Stewart also made his mark on the diamond, going 14-5 on the mound with a sparkling 1.85 ERA in four years at the East New York school. Saving the best for last, he had his finest campaign as a senior, posting a 7-1 record to go along with an impressive 1.00 ERA.
Stewart’s topnotch pitching performance helped the Orange Wave (15-1) capture the PSAL’s Brooklyn B Central division, and earn the eleventh seed in the playoffs. While he has been Jefferson’s ace this season, the versatile player has been productive at the plate as well, putting up solid numbers all around (.311 avg., .426 OBP, 2 HR, 14 RBI and 21 SB).
Coach Gary Feit credited Stewart for much of Jefferson’s success due to his ability to do it all on the field.
“He’s been the most important part of the team,” Feit explained. “Pitching, he’s unbelievable, doing a great job. Hitting, he’s gotten a lot of clutch hits, lot of big hits, and fielding, he makes all the plays. If we didn’t have Al, we probably wouldn’t be where we are.”
Balancing two sports and academics for any student athlete can be difficult. But Stewart, who has played both disciplines since his freshman year, said once the football season concluded, he was always ready to transition to baseball, which was made easier because of his natural athletic prowess and postgridiron fitness level.
“After football, I just work out, get ready for baseball in January. And I just come out and play,” said Stewart, who held Canarsie to one run and two hits over five innings in the Orange Wave’s 12-1 mercy victory last week. “It’s just been hard work. I got to keep my body in shape for both sports. I just bring my talent from football to baseball, so I am ready to work for the team.”
Once Stewart hangs up his spikes after the baseball campaign is over, he’ll turn his focus to football. In September, he’ll head to Monroe College in New Rochelle, N.Y., play in the NJCAA’s Northeast Football Conference (NEFC), for a year, Feit noted, in order to prepare him for a four-year college.
Feit said that Division-I Stony Brook University has already expressed interest in the 5-10 graduating senior, and will look to convert him into a safety.
Before that, however, Stewart wants to leave Jefferson on a high note, and help the Orange Wave go deep into the postseason—something he said his club is capable of accomplishing.
“I feel comfortable going into the playoffs,” he confidently said. “We got a good team, very disciplined, and a good coach. We are here, and ready to play.”
The Orange Wave hosts No. 22 Bread and Roses Integrated Arts High School today at 3.30 p.m.