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East County Wednesday, Jul. 15, 2009 8 years ago

Athlete of the Week: Matt Ambrosino

by: Jen Blanco Sports Editor

Nearly every player on Manatee East Little League’s 10- and 11-year-old All-Star team can pitch, but perhaps none is more versatile on the mound than 11-year-old Matt Ambrosino.

But it’s not his experience and consistency on the mound that cause other teams to take notice.
Rather, it’s his ability to throw both right-handed and left-handed that has left opposing dugouts speechless — and this week proved to be no different.

On July 10, in just his second start of the Manatee County District 26 Little League All-Star Tournament, the ambidextrous pitcher threw a complete game, striking out 10 batters as Manatee East defeated Braden River 6-0.

“I had one more out left to get that (perfect game), but it was (still) amazing,” Ambrosino said.

It was undoubtedly Ambrosino’s best performance on the mound, but it might not have turned out the same way had it not been for the natural left-hander’s decision to switch arms after the third inning.

With his left shoulder tightening up, Ambrosino threw the rest of the game with his right arm — much to the surprise of Braden River.

“It’s funny how the other team’s dugout thinks it’s a new pitcher, but really it’s just a switch,” Ambrosino said.

Ambrosino began playing baseball when he was 5 years old, following in the footsteps of his older brother Joey, now 13, as the two played together on the same T-ball team. Ambrosino continued to work his way up through Manatee East’s system, playing on his first all-star team last year.

This year, the second-year all-star, who can play just about any position, has become one of the undisputed leaders of the team.

“He’s a rare breed,” Manatee East coach Doug Myers said. “He’s a quite leader. He’s not a loud kid, but he leads by example. He’s steady, and he’ll play any position on the field without complaining.”

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