Baseball: Matt Queen Leads Area in Hitting, Second Most Wins on Mound; Poly’s 14-2 Record Paces Baseball Scene

By Brian Reed-Baiotto, Sports Editor For anyone who saw Matt Queen’s numbers after his junior year in 2017 and wondered if he was really that good, the Poly senior has answered that in 2018 with a resounding “yes.” Last season, Queen led the entire Pasadena and La Canada area with his .526 average. He finished […]

By Brian Reed-Baiotto, Sports Editor

For anyone who saw Matt Queen’s numbers after his junior year in 2017 and wondered if he was really that good, the Poly senior has answered that in 2018 with a resounding “yes.”

Last season, Queen led the entire Pasadena and La Canada area with his .526 average.

He finished his junior year with 30 hits, 18 runs and 17 RBIs.

Queen wasn’t done there.

Matt Queen batting

The lefty also went 5-0 on the mound with a 1.40 ERA and became the Panthers’ ace.

It was a banner season for the Prep League champions in 2017, as they finished 11-1 in league games.

They had a first-round CIF-SS Division 6 playoff victory over Yucca Valley, 7-0, but were shutout, 3-0, at Malibu in the second round.

So, Queen’s summer began and along with his incredible intellect and success in the classroom, the soon-to-be senior was also getting ready with his boys for the 2018 football season that was a few months from beginning.

Queen did many things for Poly football coach Chris Schmoke and his successful program, including roaming the defensive backfield as well as the kicking duties.

On October 19, however, the Panthers went out to Valencia and decimated Trinity Classical, 54-6, in a Prep League victory.

In that game, though, Queen suffered a season-ending injury, and when we reached out to some of the Poly seniors for quotes from that game on their ride back to Pasadena, the sound of devastation and heartbreak in their voices overrode even the slightest happiness for yet another victory.

It was crystal clear how much the Poly athletes loved and still do their teammate and brother, Matt Queen.

Matt Queen pitching

Several months go by, he plays the second half of soccer season, and onto April of 2018, and Queen, for the second consecutive season leads the entire area with his .523 average.

His 24 hits are second best to Maranatha’s Max Blessinger by one, and he also has 16 runs scored and 14 RBIs.

Queen has four doubles and two home runs and boasts a .543 on-base percentage.

If you still haven’t realized how complete a baseball player he is, not only is his average tops for the entire area, his five wins on the mound and 44 strikeouts are second best in both categories to Maranatha’s Dawson Netz.

Queen’s 1.00 ERA is fifth to those with at least 20 innings or more on the mound..

With seven regular seasons to go, Queen and the Panthers are hoping to enter the CIF playoffs on a high note.

As of April 9, Poly is ranked No. 1 in the CIF-SS Division 6 rankings.

We’ve already established how good he is on the football field, as well as the baseball field.

He’s a pretty impressive kid, right?

Well, add to all his accolades that Queen is also a 3.9 GPA student and he’ll attend Northwestern University in the fall.

“Matt is the quiet leader for this team,” first-year coach Mack Paciorek said. “He gets the job done and done well, and he clearly knows right from wrong and chooses to make good decisions on the field, in the dugout and off the field.”

As much as he’s done, Queen would be the first to point out how much production Poly has gotten from Cameron McFarlane (.459 average), Franco Alonso (.442 average, area-best 19 RBI) and many others on the mound like Van Fichtner (3-0), Matt Loomis (2-0) and their entire staff.

How did he deal with the injury in October as well as the frustrations over the next several months?

“I worked out a lot to relieve stress and build core and arm strength for pitching,” Queen said. “I think my role is to lead by example and stay in the zone because that is how I best help the team. I think our success has come from early bats and strong starts from our pitchers, because once we get ahead early, it frequently quiets the other team.”

Queen credits his mother, Marie, and his father John with supporting him throughout his life and his progression both academically and athletically.

He also mentioned football coach Chris Schmoke, who is like a second-father figure to many, because of his close relationships with his players present and past.

Queen said Schmoke still checks in on him and pushes him to reach for higher ground both in the classroom and on any field he’s competing.

The primary goal for a roster with nine seniors is to go the distance.

“Last year, we made it to the second round of CIF and I think in the back of everyone’s mind is the dream to win a CIF championship,” Queen said. “We have to continue to improve in every facet of the game, but our players are willing and determined to improve and that through our efforts, they can pay huge dividends down the road.”

A Prep League title is likely, but CIF title or not, every school and program wants a quality young man representing them like Matt Queen.

Quotable:

Poly baseball coach Mack Paciorek: “I was able to watch Matt pitch in one night game last season and I was impressed by his consistency and competitiveness. Matt has really done everything well, offense, defense and on the mound. Matt has been lights out on the mound. He has already shown us his ability to pitch in multiple scenarios; starter, mid-game relief, against top competition, etc. and he has answered every challenge incredibly well. As a hitter, Matt is a complete hitter as he hits balls hard often, can hit to all fields, puts pressure on the defense with his speed, and can showcase power as well.”

Poly football coach Chris Schmoke: “Matt is tough as nails and he loved to come up and make hits (from free safety). He has great ball skills, but was also a tough and sure tackler. Losing him was a big loss on the field, but even bigger in the locker room. He is a middle child and I attribute his personality to that. He has that ability to bring everyone together and not complain about anything. He works very hard and asks very little. Because of this, he has really become a big leader in his class and on his teams. He doesn’t say much, but kids really look to him, because he is so well respected.”

Getting To Know Matt Queen:
Favorite Athlete: Adoree’ Jackson
Favorite Team: Dodgers & USC
Favorite Movie: Forrest Gump
Favorite Musical Artist: Pipo Beatz
Musical Artist Some May Be Surprised I Like: Big L.C.T.
Famous Person (Alive or Dead) I’d Most Want A Conversation: The Wright Brothers

Poly’s Remaining Schedule:
April 17: Poly at Rio Hondo Prep at 3:45
April 20: Poly at Rio Hondo Prep at 3:45
April 28: Poly at Dunn at Noon
May 1: Flintridge Prep at Poly at 3:30
May 5: Poly vs Flintridge Prep at Glendale Sports Complex at 5
May 8: Poly at Chadwick at 4
May 10: Firebaugh at Poly (TBA)

Prep League Standings Through April 15:
Poly (14-2 overall, 5-0 in league)
Rio Hondo Prep (8-3, 4-1)
Chadwick (6-6, 1-3)
Flintridge Prep (6-4, 0-2)
Firebaugh (1-10, 0-4)

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