Steckel Named Area’s 6A Player of the Year

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Photo Isabel Hanewicz

Matthew Steckel ('16) waits for a pitch during the first inning of Robinson's game against Blake in February.

Bailey Adams, Sports Editor

One day before starting his last week of regular season high school baseball, Matthew Steckel (’16) was named the area’s 2016 6A Player of the Year by the Florida Athletic Coaches Association. A journey that started at the age of six is nearing its end after nearly 12 years, including four years on varsity at Robinson, but the honor adds to the memories and legacy he will look back on.

“It was really cool to me,” Steckel said. “It just showed that all the work I put in paid off and that I don’t have any regrets.”

With two games left to play in the regular season, Steckel leads the team with a .444 batting average, 28 hits and 16 RBIs. Although he didn’t throw a single pitch in a high school game until the beginning of his senior year, he has allowed just eight earned runs up to this point, which is good for a 2.07 ERA. His numbers have been productive throughout his high school career, but as he reflects on his baseball career, he acknowledges his support system as one of the factors in his success.

In his first varsity start as a pitcher, Matthew Steckel ('16) gave up only two unearned runs on one hit over five and two-thirds innings.
Photo Isabel Hanewicz
In his first varsity start as a pitcher, Matthew Steckel (’16) gave up only two unearned runs on one hit over five and two-thirds innings.

“[I have to thank] my parents and Coach McCray,” he said. “They’ve been very supportive and coach has helped me grow as a player all throughout my childhood and throughout high school.”

When he hangs up his jersey for good, he knows he’ll miss the game. Mostly, Steckel, or “Gator”, as he is known on the field, says he’ll miss the memories he’s made with his teammates in his four years at Robinson. For the time being, however, he and his teammates aren’t looking back. Their focus is on finishing the regular season strong before getting ready for the next week’s district tournament.

“We need to play our game and focus on what we can control, which is throw strikes, make our plays and not miss our pitch up to bat,” he said.

The Knights are on the road this week, taking on Riverview on Tuesday before finishing up with Newsome on Thursday. Next week’s district tournament will be held at Jefferson High School (4401 W Cypress St, Tampa, FL 33607).