COMMERCE — Once in a coach’s lifetime does a specially gifted baseball player come along.
This year for Bayside Yankees’ coach Bobby Cruz, David Ghiloni is that player.
What makes Ghiloni special is that he is ambidextrous. He can throw both with his right and left hand.
Last Wednesday, the 17-year-old Ghiloni tossed a complete-game victory for the Yankees with four strikeouts and allowing seven runs on 10 hits in the first day of the 2016 Premier Baseball Junior Championship.
“This is his first year with us and every outing, he just gets better and better,” Cruz said before Friday’s game at Mickey Mantle Field, named after the late New York Yankee legend and Hall of Famer. “He’s a tough kid and he competes.”
Ghiloni, the Yankees’ No. 2 pitcher, is naturally left-handed, but has more command pitching with his right hand because he has faced more right-handed batters, according to Cruz.
“It’s amazing he does it as effective as he does,” Cruz said. “He doesn’t walk many guys, he can battle and he can throw. He can throw three consecutive strikes at anytime. I rely on him heavily.”
Ghiloni said he has been pitching a baseball “ever since he was a small youngster.”
“Since I was in diapers, I could pick up a ball and throw righty, then pick up a ball and throw lefty,” said Ghiloni. “I’m a natural lefty, but I am more accurate as a righty. I throw faster lefty, but more comfortable as a righty.”
Ghiloni uses a special “six-finger” glove that was given to him when he was age 10.
“I got this glove for free from a guy named Tony Avatini, who owns a sports complex,” said Ghiloni. “He gave it to me as a gift.”
He said he uses the special glove for pitching only.
When he’s not pitching, he used a right-handed glove at first base.
But at the plate, he can only bat left-handed.
The 5-foot-11, 155-pound senior at Warwick High School in Warwick, New York, said he has several Division III colleges scouting him.
“I pitch, play outfield and shortstop on my high school team,” he noted. “I also play football.”
Cruz said this is the first time since he came to the tournament five years ago to play at Mickey Mantle Field.
“The first time we played in the tournament then, we played here, but not since — until Friday,” added Cruz.
Commerce baseball coach Bill Rogers, who was helping with the grounds at the field, said it’s rare to see a ambidextrous pitcher.
“You see a lot a switch hitters, but not many switch pitchers,” he said.
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