PURCHASE, N.Y. - AJ Boardman was easy to overlook this past spring. Although he was St. Francis Prep's No. 2 starter on the first city championship team at the Fresh Meadows school in 11 years, their ace was Dan Forman, a southpaw who enjoyed one of the best seasons ever in Catholic League annals.
Forman threw a no-hitter in the championship game and a one-hitter to get the Terriers into the final. Boardman, meanwhile, won his share of starts, which included beating Iona Prep, the same team responsible for ending St. Francis' season the last two years, in the intersectional playoffs.
“Everybody was overshadowed by Danny,” said former teammate Paul Karmas, who starts his career at St. John's in the fall. “Danny was unbelievable, amazing.”
Boardman, though, is not too bad himself. A right-hander from Sunnyside with a fastball in the mid 80's in addition to a slider and changeup, he was the No. 1 pitcher for the New York City scholastic team in the Empire State Games. The city struggled, and Boardman took a loss, but it was an experience that likely improved his standing for the future.
In past years, local products like Forman and former Molloy left-hander Sandy Sussman (now at Marist College) played in the Empire Games, and landed Division I scholarships because of it. Boardman does play summer baseball with the elite Bayside Yankees travel team, but in the mlange of showcase tournaments, he is often watched by scouts for colleges in the west or south, when he is only interested in staying local.
“I wanted to get game exposure,” he said. “I wanted to meet some new people, see the competition around New York. You learn a lot playing against better guys.”
In tryouts, Boardman, who has drawn interest from Stony Brook and Fordham, wowed the coaching staff with his repertoire. For a change, he wasn't behind Forman. Not that he doesn't miss him. Boardman learned a great deal watching Forman pitch.
“He taught me you always got to keep your cool,” Boardman said. “He had some rough games when he gave up runs, but he brushed it off and got back out there the next day and did his thing.”
Although next season is still a long way off, Karmas expects similar results - although not identical, because that would be too much to ask - from Boardman.
“He's going to be one of the best, if not the best pitcher in the CHSAA next year,” the slugging outfielder predicted. “He's going to get recognition.”