Carina Zupa’s pitch is not to be underestimated, judging by her record so far this year.
The 17-year-old Long Island Riptide pitcher ended her first two games this month with no runs on the board for the opposition. That’s zero points scored on her in 20 straight innings, with only one hit allowed in the second game on June 9 versus the Long Island Shock.
“I’ve learned to dominate the inside of the plate more,” she said, aiming for the batter’s hands and increasing her velocity, which averages in the mid- to high-50’s.
Although her Earned Run Average has always been low, said Zupa, she is seeing greater success with the traveling team than in her varsity colors.“You get to see what softball really is when it’s at a higher level,” she said.
Zupa will be entering her senior year at Glen Cove High School in the fall. She has been pitching since she was 5 years old, making the varsity team when she was still in the eighth grade.
She made All-Conference that year and followed with All-County as a freshman, with another All-Conference title her sophomore year and All-County status this past season.
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The field isn’t the only place she excels. Zupa has been president of her class each year since entering high school and will be as a senior. With grades hovering in the mid-90’s, she is in the top tenth percentile of her class, and although she hopes to pitch for a Division I school after she graduates, she ultimately aspires to medical school.
“It’s what a parent would hope for,” said her father, Jeffrey Zupa.
Watching her pitch isn’t as easy as being her parent, however.
“It’s great when it’s all over. For me, personally, watching her pitch is one of the most gut-wrenching experiences,” he said.
Her consistency this year is what has been most impressive, according to her dad, and her strength on the mound makes her a valuable asset to any team, he said.
“If the team makes the plays, she’s gonna keep ‘em in it,” Zupa said.