By Five Boro Sports
All it took was one fly ball in tryouts to reveal how good Christopher Vasquez is.
“I knew already what we had, just the way he strides to the ball,” Newtown baseball Coach Neil Rosenblatt said. “The reads he gets off the bat are incredible. We haven’t had a kid like that.”
The senior center fielder can certainly make things look easy out there, gliding to balls that settle in his sure glove. It is just his first year with the Pioneers. Vasquez spent his first three seasons at John F. Kennedy before moving to Queens over the summer.
“I heard that there was a lot of Hispanics and that they are always looking for ball players,” Vasquez said.
Something he wasn’t his final season at JFK.
Vasquez said he left for the Dominican Republic in mid-December because of family issues and returned in mid-January. He had missed too much school to be eligible to play.
“I knew what was happening,” he said. “But I was upset.”
From the day he started with the baseball team at Newtown, he was given the nickname “Kennedy,” something his teammates will frequently yell to him when he gets up to bat. Vasquez is also called “El Levanta Carro” — the car lifter — in Spanish because of his strength.
“He hits ropes, line drives and his swing is so effortless,” senior Jordan Ruiz said.
Vasquez is currently hitting .500 with five RBIs and three runs scored in four PSAL games, but the thing that sets him apart is his glove, his outfield instincts and his arm. His cannon of an arm can shut down teams’ running games and had Rosenblatt hoping runners could tag up on him.
“He is the best [high school] outfielder I’ve ever seen,” Rosenblatt said. “… Just the reads he gets off the bats are not that of your normal high school outfielder.”
Vasquez committed his first error of the season in the Pioneers’ 5-1 loss to Monroe in the Monroe Holiday Tournament at American Legion Field in Canarsie Tuesday morning. He made a long run in on a fly ball and had it hit off his glove — an extremely rare miscue.
“I just got a little too confident and went to catch it with one hand,” Vasquez said.
He is usually automatic and also good for a few laughs. Vasquez is an extremely loose player. From center field, he will talk to and make funny gestures to his infielders between batters and yell “Whoop” after an opposing batter strikes out.
“He screams out like a girl,” Ruiz said.
Added Rosenblatt: “He is a goofy, funny kid. You need that. He is very serious about his game.”
That’s what makes him the type of player that can instantly make a team better and impact the players around him. Newtown, who finished 9-7 in Queens A East last season, is already off to a 4-1 start.
“[He] gives us a complete lift,” Ruiz said. “It makes me want to just go home and work on my hitting and just hit line drives.”