Mike Costanzo has given St. Rita one to grow on

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Costanzo205/20/2014, 10:29pm CDT
By Pat Disabato | pdisabato@southtownstar.com

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When Mike Costanzo was a 5-6, 100-pound eighth-grader, he wasn't generating much interest from Catholic Blue schools. Flash forward to present day and the 6-foot, 165-pounder is one of the most decorated pitcher in St. Rita history.
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There wasn’t much interest from baseball powerhouses in the Catholic Blue when Mike Costanzo was in eighth grade at St. Christina School in Mount Greenwood. Maybe the lack of interest was because of his size. At the time Costanzo stood 5-6, 100 pounds. Or maybe it was a lack of a blazing fastball, which hovered in the low-70s (mph). Maybe it was a combination of both. It was reality, though.
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“I had no one (high schools) calling me in eighth grade,” Costanzo said. “I was set to go to (Brother) Rice because of a friend. Two days before the entrance exam, he told me he was going to test at Rita. So I tested at Rita.” It’s safe to say Costanzo has proved doubters wrong during his four years at St. Rita.
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He did experience a growth spurt — he’s now 6-feet and tips the scales at 165 pounds. His fastball experienced an increase in velocity, consistently reading in the upper 80s. He has the potential to reach the low 90s. Most important, he’s a winner. In three years on the varsity, he’s won 25 games. This season, he’s 8-1 with a 1.70 ERA and has struck out 83 in 53 2/3 innings.
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“Mike’s competitiveness is unbelievable,” St. Rita coach Mike Zunica said. “He has no fear; he’s the ultimate competitor and teammate. Those are the things that make Mike a guy we’ll never forget around here.” Opposing hitters may have different memories of Costanzo. Whether it’s pounding the strike zone with his fastball or making them look bad chasing his breaking ball, Costanzo has had his way with most opponents.
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He won seven games as a sophomore, 10 as a junior and eight this season, with potentially four to five more starts. How many more times Costanzo will toe the rubber depends on how well the Mustangs perform in the postseason. Either way, he’ll rank among the all-time winningest pitchers in St. Rita’s 103-year history.
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