/*--- Animation #1---*/ /*--- Animation #2---*/ /*--- Animation #3---*/

Antonio Velardi

Prior to High School:
Antonio played for several of the most elite travel baseball programs in NJ including the NJ Mariners, Lefty’s Lighting, NJ Seminoles, NJ Diamondbacks, and Wladyka Baseball. He served as a pitcher, primarily, along with playing middle infield, third base, and centerfield all at similar levels. After several years of highly competitive travel baseball, he went onto play for a very highly praised and prestigious high school, Saint Peter’s Prep.

Saint Peter’s Prep:
Ranging from the starting second basemen, to shortstop and third baseman, Antonio was the ace of the pitching staff at Saint Peter’s Prep where he found great success against the highest level of high school competition in NJ. One of the most impressive games he pitched was opening day 2014 against the third best team in the state at the time, Bergen Catholic. He threw 7 scoreless innings allowing only 2 hits to get the win. That was only one of amazing games that year he threw and ending the year with a 1.65 ERA. With this, it landed him a First team All-County, All-Area and honorable mention All-State selection and a trip to the Underclassmen All Star Game. That lead into a great summer where he ended up gaining velocity and touching 90mph for the first time and receiving scholarship offers from several Division 1 schools. Antonio’s senior year for Saint Peter’s was the most impressive where he hit second for the team batting .482, started 3rd base and was the ace of the staff finishing with a 1.92 ERA. This all resulted in 2 no hitters by Antonio against conference rivals North Bergen and defending state champions Hudson Catholic along with Hudson County Pitcher of the year selection, Hudson County Champions, first team All-County, All-Area and All State selections along with a trip to the NJ Senior All Star game at Diamond Nation. With that, he moved onto pitch at the Division 1 level at Iona College in New Rochelle, NY, a member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

Iona College:
As a freshman, Antonio earned a spot into the weekend rotation right off the bat where he started game three of opening weekend against Gardner Webb University in North Carolina. He threw 4 innings allowing only 1 earned run and 2 hits as a tribute to his first college start and debut. Shortly after that outing, he went onto throw 5 scoreless innings off 2 hit ball against Saint John’s in Iona’s home opener, a top 25 team in the country at the time who just beat Florida State a few days prior to this start. As a sophomore he ended up playing a crucial, but different role for the team out of the bullpen serving as a main set up guy for the team spotting a 4.10 ERA along with a .195 BAA and a .077 ERA in conference play. The biggest moment from that year included a win with a multiple inning relief effort in the MAAC semifinal game to send Iona to the conference championship. As a junior, he redshirted as he underwent Tommy John surgery. As a senior, he went on to have his best year for the Gaels where he served as the teams closer, coming fresh off surgery he gave up 4 of his 7 earned runs of the season in his first two appearances back off surgery. For the season, he posted a 2.95 ERA, but after the first two outings, he posted a 1.37 ERA and a sub 2 ERA in conference play leading the team in ERA,WHIP,BAA and saves (6). And lastly as a graduate student unfortunately due to COVID, he only threw 5 innings before the season was cut short.

After Iona:
Antonio was committed to Charleston Southern University, a member of the Big South conference, to play his last year of eligibility before deciding to not attend and end his playing career. Prior to the end of his career, he was able to reach a milestone of 93MPH off the mound in the summer of 2020, a personal record. Now that he is done playing, Antonio has a degree in Business Management from Iona, along with a MBA, master’s degree in Business Administration from Iona as well. He is currently pursuing a career as a MLO, mortgage loan originator for a branch in Toms River and lives in Manahawkin NJ.