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Article Published August 3, 2017
Erbe Primed for Big Senior Year Following Solid Summer Season
PJ Foti, Sports Writer

Steven Erbe enjoyed a quality campaign with the North Haven High School baseball team this spring and then followed that up by proving a key contributor on the Senior Legion squad during the summer. Now, Steven is looking to translate that momentum into an excellent senior year for the Indians in 2018.

“Playing varsity as a junior, I’m experienced, so it’s not like I’m stepping on the field for the first time. I’ll be more comfortable and feel more confident,” says Steven of his prospects for next spring. “This year, I was a [designated hitter] for high school, but this summer, I caught and played the outfield. I liked it. Whatever would get me on the field.”

Indians’ Head Coach Bob DeMayo notes how hard Steven hit the ball while batting .321 with 23 RBI as his club’s designated hitter in the recent season. DeMayo says that having Steven’s bat in the lineup was a huge asset for North Haven, which won 18 games and advanced to the Class L state final.

“I’ve had a lot of people I’ve coached over the years, but the way the ball comes off his bat, it’s like a dart,” DeMayo says. “When he hits it, he has that wrist snap, and the ball flies off his bat.”

Steven is also a football player at North Haven High School. As a result, he’s constantly lifting weights, and Steven believes that his added strength gives him an advantage when he steps into the batter’s box.

“I feel like I hit the ball hard. I make good contact and barrel the ball up,” Steven says. “Because of football, I’m working out year-around. I’m getting lifting in for both sports, so it’s nice.”

Steven is sort of a free swinger at the dish and likes to get the bat off his shoulder early in the count. Steven’s aggressive approach paid dividends during the American Legion season as he led Post 76 in batting average.

“I like to be aggressive. I swing at the first pitch a lot. More often than not, it’s the best pitch you’re going to get,” says Steven, who also had an RBI triple for the high school squad in the state final. “I like going up their hacking. I don’t think a lot—just look for a fastball somewhere I can drive the ball.”

A catcher by trade, Steven saw time in the outfield with the Legion squad in preparation for his senior year of high school. Head Coach Tim Binkoski praises Steven for his ability to contribute for Post 76 in a variety of ways, in addition to the all-around positive attitude he brings to the squad.

“His versatility factor was huge for us. Being able to play the outfield and catch, he split time. It was nice because, in our doubleheaders, we didn’t have one guy behind the plate for both games in 90-degree weather,” Binkoski says. “He never said boo to anything. If I asked him to go play outfield, he was more than receptive to that, which was a big contribution to us. He definitely has the makings of being a good baseball player. It’s just a matter of if he’s willing to keep working at it.”

Like many baseball players in North Haven, Steven had the opportunity to get to know Coach DeMayo before he ever stepped on the varsity field, and that made him want to play for the legendary skipper even more. Steven adds that it was exciting to be a part of the Indians’ ride to the state final this year.

“Growing up and watching my brother play for him, I learned of how legendary he is and his coaching style. It was fun to be a part of that. He’s been coaching for 50-some-odd years, and to be a part of that is really special,” says Steven. “It was amazing, especially being that Coach DeMayo only has [seven] teams that have made it. Being one of them is amazing. It was like nothing else. Playing at Dunkin’ Donuts Park in the semifinal was an amazing experience.”

When he isn’t playing baseball, Steven lines up at linebacker and tight end for the North Haven football team. Steven caught a touchdown pass last fall, in addition to making 13 tackles on the defensive side of the field. While Steven is looking forward to his senior season on the gridiron, he admits that America’s pastime is still his primary passion.

“Football is in my family. Everyone played it, so it was passed down to me,” Steven says. “Baseball is my main sport. I play it in the summer and the spring and have been really into it ever since watching my brother play. He made me want to play, especially for Coach DeMayo.”