Jul 20, 2021
Shane Panzini reflects on his athletic career in high school
By Tim Morris
Every time Shane Panzini stepped on the pitcher’s mound this spring, he had only one goal in mind.
“I wanted to help my team win,” said the senior Catholic from Red Bank. “I tried to throw a full game every time to give my team a chance to win.”
Panzini has certainly achieved its goal and more. The flamethrower right-hander was a primary reason for the Caseys’ success in 2021. RBC went 24-5-1 and repeated as the Shore Conference champion. RBC also reached the finals of the NJSIAA A South and Monmouth County non-public tournaments of the NJSIAA and added the Shore Conference A Central Division crown to their accomplishments.
Panzini has more than done its part, going 9-0 while shooting a paltry 0.91 earned-run average. He whipped up 115 batters in 61.2 innings of work. The senior, who played on the outfield when he wasn’t a pitcher, also helped home, leading the team in homers (four). He had 22 RBIs and 22 RBIs scored and produced .385.
Panzini was on the hill for the TBS final, pulling out 12 holds and going the distance as RBC defeated Group 4 State Champion Middletown High School South, 7-0, to win the tournament for the second consecutive time ( there was no 2020 season due to the pandemic, and RBC won it in 2019).
“It was great to win the home game,” said Panzini.
The TBS final was déjà vu for ace Casey as he threw another all-around game gem, a hit, in the 2019 TBS Final, a 5-0 win over Manalapan.
It was Panzini’s 12 hits and three hitters that led RBC to perhaps their biggest win of the season, a 6-1 win over then undefeated, No.1-ranked team Bishop Eustace in the half. final of the state section.
Panzini’s latest start was a fitting conclusion to a great career, another stellar performance, a 14 strikeout, two batting in 6.1 innings as RBC beat Christian Brothers Academy, 3-1, in the semifinals of MCT.
Panzini could still rely on his fastball at 90 mph to subdue high school hitters. He had more in his arsenal and worked on those pitches during the season.
“I worked on things,” Panzini noted. “When the count was 0-2 or 1-0, I was experimenting with changes or backdoor sliders. “
The combination of speed, low-speed throws and a slider made teams struggle to get hits, let alone runs, off the Casey. He’s only allowed 26 hits all season.
Due to the lost 2020 season, the spring 2021 campaign took on special significance for the Panzini graduate.
“You realize that you only have a limited time. It made me appreciate it more and make the most of it, ”he explained.
RBC, like all Shore teams, weren’t sure what to expect from the 2021 season. Experience was lacking everywhere, but somehow RBC overcame it to be one. of the best in the state.
“We really didn’t know how strong we would be,” said Panzini. “Our subclasses have intensified. We were a tight-knit group. It was the most tight-knit team I know. The practice was fun. We all shot at each other.
It all translated into a memorable season and a promise of future success for Red Bank Catholic baseball. With juniors and sophomores sprinkled with a few freshmen returning in 2022, Panzini said the Caseys have a bright future ahead of them, even without him throwing heat.
Looking back on his career, Panzini was happy to be part of a winning program that has won 20 or more games every year he was there. It was something he couldn’t have foreseen.
“I didn’t think something like this would happen [to me], he recalls. “My first year, my older brother, Blaise, was senior and explained everything to me, and I pitched a bit. My second year, the team was the most talented I have been a part of.
His limited experience as a freshman was enough for him to learn he had what it takes to cut him off as a college pitcher.
“It was against Middletown North in the first year that I had the idea to be able to dominate. I could play at that level, ”he remarked, adding that it made him work on improving everything from his mechanics to his gym access and nutrition.
After his high school season, Panzini was invited to compete in the premier Major League Combine in North Carolina. The Casey is considered one of the top high school candidates in the country. He headed to the University of Virginia to continue his athletic and college career.