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The Butler Did It: The end of the line for Mr. Stanner

He went to school.

There’s only one difference, he graduated six days earlier. But what else can you expect from Mr....

Hours before donning his Molloy baseball jersey for the last time, Matt Rizzotti did what he’s done for the past four years.

He went to school.

There’s only one difference, he graduated six days earlier. But what else can you expect from Mr. Stanner?

The official end of an era came about at St. John’s Friday, at around 6:45 p.m. Rizzotti wore his battered once-blue hat for the last time as he walked off the field following the CHSAA Senior Classic.

It was an emotional week for the Floral Park resident. On Monday his Stanners were eliminated by Farrell in the playoffs, on Wednesday he learned he was selected in the Major League Draft and on Friday his stellar high school career came to a close.

“I’m sad that I’m leaving school. It’s like leaving a life. I had nothing to do today; I set my alarm for 10 o’clock and I went to school,” Rizzotti said on Friday. “Who goes to school when the summer just started? I went to school and everyone looked at me like, ‘what are you doing?’”

Rizzotti enjoyed a better career, and a better high school life, than most. The 6-foot-4, 235-pound teddy bear was one of the most dominant pitchers in the CHSAA and a stellar first baseman with a feared bat. He was intentionally walked four times in his last two high school games and he was plunked in his last official at-bat.

But before that he broke the long-standing single-season home run mark at Molloy with his 17th homer, a first-inning opposite field shot against Regis June 2.

Three days later he graduated from Molloy, winning the prestigious Archbishop Molloy Alumni Award, earning him the nickname of “Mayor of Molloy.”

As if he didn’t have it before.

But he’s putting that all behind him. As if Bruce Springsteen’s “Glory Days” were playing in the background, Rizzotti reminisced about his days at Molloy.

He’s retiring his title as Mayor of Molloy to be a mere mortal at Manhattan College. He’s trading in his beat-up Molloy hat for a brand new kelly green Manhattan Jasper hat, reuniting with former Molloy teammate Nick Derba in Riverdale.

“I was The Stanner; I’d go to all the events, all the games, all the dinners. I walked around the halls like I owned the school,” Rizzotti said. “Now I have to be The Jasper. It’s going to be weird.”

That’s right. Rizzotti will be heading to college in the fall. Although he was drafted, realizing a life-long dream, as the 1,376th pick overall in the 46th round by the Minnesota Twins, he isn’t exactly guaranteed a Major League career.

“When you’re old enough to know what the draft is, you think, ‘oh, I’ll go No. 1 out of high school, I’ll be cool, people will love me, I’ll get all the girls,’” Rizzotti said. “But (Round) 46 is fine. It’s an honor to get drafted.”

And he’ll use the pick and the fact that Manhattan first baseman Chris Gaskin was selected in the 23rd round as motivation to try to get picked higher in three or four years.

As he walked off the field for the last time as a high school baseball player, Rizzotti quipped, “There it is, my last interview.”

Somehow, Matt, I think you’re wrong there.

Reach Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.

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