As a pitcher, Louie Sisto’s method is to work fast and throw strikes.
But the end goal is a bit different for the St. Rita junior right-hander. Sure, he wants to get his defense off the field and win games, but there’s much more to him than meets the eye.
“I just want to play baseball as long as I possibly can,” Sisto said. “I love this sport more than anything, and I’m going to keep playing until I can’t play anymore.”
It looked Tuesday like Sisto will be playing for a long, long time.
Working on a no-hitter into the fifth inning, Sisto only took about 90 minutes and 75 pitches to defeat visiting Brother Rice 5-2 in a Catholic League Blue showdown.
Sisto struck out four, walked none and made several athletic plays fielding his position. Meanwhile, his offense came through with a pair of insurance runs in the sixth.
Senior center fielder Tommy Atkinson also was a royal pain in the batter’s box for St. Rita (17-6, 9-3), scoring twice on three singles and a walk while stealing three bases.
That made life miserable for Brother Rice (14-10, 10-2), which got an RBI double from Randall Nauden in the sixth to cut the deficit to 3-2. But it wasn’t meant to be, with Crusaders coach Sean McBride giving plenty of credit to Sisto.
“He was good,” McBride said. “He worked fast, threw a lot of strikes, sped the game on us a little bit. So, yeah, credit to him. He did a good job.”
Sisto played sparingly on the varsity as a sophomore, so this is his first full season on that level. Not only did it look like he belonged, he has the confidence to know he belongs.
But he also knows he can’t do it himself.
“I’ve been a pitcher my whole life,” he said. “Just be confident in my pitches, trust the pitching coach. I’ve got a great catcher behind the plate. I’ve got a great defense behind me.”
Sir Jamison Jones, the Illinois State-bound junior catcher, has had a front-row seat all season and couldn’t be more impressed.
“All of his starts that he’s had, he’s come out on the mound with a good presence and he’s just firing strikes in there,” Jones said. “If he gets hit, so be it. He’s back the next pitch, ready to compete.
“That’s been his story all year. He’s a competitor. He’s a grinder.”
St. Rita coach John Nee said it wasn’t hard to identify Sisto last spring as a player who was going to help the Mustangs at the varsity level — and not only as a pitcher.
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Sisto also plays some third base and outfield.
A year ago, Sisto was one of the top two players on the JV, using his toughness and smarts to catch Nee’s attention. That was why he earned a taste of varsity playing time.
“We knew he would be a tough kid,” Nee said. “We knew he would be one of our top guys for sure.”
Although college is in the future, Sisto plans to play somewhere. But for now, he’s content to do what he does, with the goal to do that as long as he can.
He’s also interested in contributing to the sport in another way. He parted with some advice for young pitchers who would like to be him someday.
“I’d say play a lot of catch,” he said. “A lot of long toss and be confident with your throwing. Throw the ball hard and be aggressive. Trust in your abilities.”
Gregg Voss is a freelance reporter for the Daily Southtown.