By Jerry Del Priore
Pitcher Chris Karnbach was a big reason why Madison High School baseball enjoyed a tremendous season, exceeding exceptions by going 14-2 during the regular season. The Knights followed up the success by making it all the way to AAA semifinals, where the team lost, 3-2, to Staten Island powerhouse, Tottenville.
“It was great. It was my senior year, and I couldn’t ask for anything better,” Karnbach, 18, said of the way the season turned out for him and the Knights. “We went all the way into the semifinals, and no one expected it from us. We had a great team, I made a lot of friends, and had a lot of fun.”
Karnbach, a Mill Basin, Brooklyn native, recorded a 5-1 record with 1.35 ERA during the regular season. He continued to excel in the postseason, posting a 2-0 mark with a minuscule 0.47 ERA in 15 innings of work.
Come September, Karnbach will be crossing the Verrazano to attend the College of Staten Island to study physical therapy and play America’s past time for the Dolphins. While it’s obvious he loves the game, he’s already eyeing life after baseball.
“Actually, it’s the academic program in physical therapy that they have there, but the coach (Michael Mauro) saw me here (MCU Park) at the senior showcase, and wanted me come down,” he explained of the main reason why he’s headed to CSI.
“I want to stay around athletes and sports because I love it,” he continued. “So I want to be around it my whole life.”
In June Karnbach displayed why he was a fierce high school pitching threat by starting and tossing two scoreless innings in the NYC Mayor’s Cup at MCU Park on Coney Island, which the CHSAA (Catholic High School Athletic Association) won, 7-2.
The Gravesend resident believed it was his strong work ethic that helped him become a success in High School, while his young teammates followed suit, and went all out in order to prove the naysayers wrong.
“Personally, I always work hard, and I always make sure I give 110 percent,” Karnbach said of his overall effort. “I think because we had a lot of young guys on the team this year, they did the same thing. They were all hungry; they were young. They were all trying to prove that they were supposed to be there. So it really helped us to work hard, fighting in these close games to win and go far.”
Karnbach said he played for multiple youth leagues on Long Island and in Brooklyn growing up, including Joe Torre, Bergen Beach, Amity and Good Shepard.
Not playing in one particular league for a long time, it forced Karnbach to hit the diamond with a vengeance as the new kid on the block.
“I always had to prove myself,” he said. “I was always the new guy on the team. I always had to keep working to show I was the best on the field, and I did belong in the spot I was in.”
When the college baseball season rolls around, Karnbach will get the opportunity to do it all over again—this time as a collegiate hurler determined to make his mark.