In a day in age in which there's a belief athletes must specialize in one sport in order to receive post-high school opportunities, Joey Scaffidi is a breath of fresh air.
A four-sport athlete at New Berlin Eisenhower, Scaffidi will likely graduate with 16 varsity letters.
Scaffidi isn't just a participant in four sports for the Lions. He's a state qualifier in wrestling and track and field; a first-team all-conference selection on both sides of the ball in football; and one of the top baseball players in the area.
"It is tough, but I honestly like it a lot," Scaffidi said. "It keeps me busy. I'm a competitor. I love competing. I hate losing. I think playing four sports have helped me in different aspects of each sport to make me better in different sports."
A Now Newspapers All-Suburban baseball selection for the second consecutive year, Scaffidi recently opted to accept a baseball scholarship offer to the UW-Milwaukee over an offer to play football at Minnesota-Duluth.
Because track and baseball overlap, Scaffidi wasn't fully available to the Lions' baseball team until after the state meet. By then, Eisenhower was eight games into its 30-game regular season. He stayed sharp baseball-wise by competing on a traveling team through Stiks Academy in the spring.
Scaffidi ended up hitting .400 (28 for 70) with three doubles, seven triples, 21 RBIs and 18 runs scored, which earned him second-team All-State honors from the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association.
The first-team All-Woodland Conference outfielder drew 21 walks and struck out just 10 times.
"It was tough coming back," Scaffidi said. "I know we were struggling real early. Just coming back, I had to find my groove again in the batters' box."
Opting for baseball
With his senior year right around the corner, Scaffidi knew he needed to make choice and settled on baseball.
"Milwaukee gave me a better opportunity," Scaffidi said. "Going in, I told myself I wanted to play football. I like football a little bit more. But after visiting with (UWM baseball) coach (Scott) Doffek, he made it seem like the opportunities at Milwaukee are greater. They are playing at a national level. I just want to compete at the highest level I can. I think baseball will take me there."
While playing multiple sports in high school is often encouraged by college coaches, it is challenging to balance academics with more than one collegiate sport. Minnesota-Duluth did give Scaffidi the option to pursue football and baseball, but Scaffidi thought it would be too much on his plate.
Instead of training for multiple sports, Scaffidi will be able to focus solely on improving as a baseball player.
"(Coach Doffek) says once I focus on one sport, my ceiling is really high," Scaffidi said. "He said I've been pulled in different directions, and once I focus on one sport, he feels like I could really excel."
Before Scaffidi takes his baseball talents to UW-Milwaukee, he has unfinished business at Eisenhower. He's expected to start on both sides of the ball for the Lions' football team this fall and is a favorite to return to the state tournament in wrestling and track.
The very last thing he will do at Eisenhower is take the field for the baseball team, which will also return All-State honorable mention utility player Bryce Wesling from a team that finished 16-15 in 2016.
"My freshman year we made it to the sectionals," Scaffidi said. "Ever since then we've been .500 or a game above .500. I feel like our team is now ready to compete at a varsity baseball level. Now we are going to figure out what it takes to win varsity baseball games."