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He led the way with style, class

Favatella is also tops in the classroom.

The statistics in the classroom and on the baseball field are off the charts for Washington Township shortstop Nick Favatella.

Yet one rival coach wanted to talk about something else: Favatella's character.

"When he hits a home run, he doesn't try to show up the other team," Lenape coach Phil Fiore said. "He is a very classy kid and ballplayer, and his style and class are what I like the most."

That's saying something, because Favatella has done a lot in his four years at Washington Township.

He is ranked No. 1 in his senior class of 709. On the diamond, he is The Inquirer's South Jersey Baseball Player of the Year.

On a young team, he provided leadership, along with plenty of offense and defense. Washington Township went 18-12, won the South Jersey Group 4 title, and finished as The Inquirer's No. 2-ranked team.

"He had a remarkable year on the field, off the field as a leader of a team, and he has done everything you can ask of a kid," Washington Township coach Bill Alvaro Jr. said. "He ranks right at the top of kids I have coached."

As a senior, Favatella hit .589 (53 for 90) with 18 doubles, nine home runs, and 34 RBIs. He was also 19 for 19 in stolen-base attempts and had a 1.11 slugging percentage.

Ever the team player, Favatella didn't force the issue. Thus, he drew 29 walks, which helps explain his hefty .706 on-base percentage.

Obviously, when teams weren't throwing Favatella fat fastballs, it was tempting to go outside the strike zone and get him to chase pitches. But he didn't accommodate those pitchers very often.

"I am not perfect and it did happen sometimes, but I try not to swing at anything that I don't think is a strike," Favatella said. "If I got walked, we had players who could drive me home."

Favatella began his career by winning a state championship as a freshman infielder at Washington Township, and ended it by earning a sectional title.

In between there were plenty of memorable accomplishments. For his career, he batted .468 with 22 home runs. Among the school records he set were for hits (147), runs (126), doubles (36) and RBIs (98).

"His work ethic is unbelievable, and I think his family was a big part of that," Alvaro said. "One of the reasons he is so dedicated is because of his family values."

Favatella is following the path of both his parents, who are pharmacists. Like his older brother Joe, Nick plans to be in the pharmacy program at Rutgers. Favatella also will continue to play baseball.

He says that winning a state title as a freshman and sectional championship as a senior will stick out the most in his athletic career.

Yet it was the simple friendships with his teammates that made a lasting impression.

"I'll always remember the great times I had with my teammates and the good times we had as a team," Favatella said.

And left unsaid is that many of those times were provided by the bat of Favatella, whose career was defined by outstanding production and character that made him stand above the rest in South Jersey.