In the years 1999-2002, Peddie baseball enjoyed one of the most successful eras in the school’s history. In that time, Peddie won two Prep A state championships, two MAPL championships, and one Mercer County Championship (along with one runner-up finish in the Mercer County).
While many players contributed to those multiple championships, pitcher Matt Pustay served as the foundation on which much of that success rested.
A four-year starter on the varsity, Pustay became the ace of the staff during his freshman year. In fact, as a freshman, in one of the most exciting games in Peddie history, Pustay won the Mercer County championship game at Waterfront Park against Lawrenceville, earning tournament MVP in the process.
His career statistics are overwhelming—he was 26-8 with a sub-two ERA over his four years. He was first team all-state prep three times, first team all-area three times, and was the player of the year in both his junior and senior year. As a junior, Pustay was particularly dominant. On the 2001 team that finished 22-2 and was probably the best Peddie team in anyone’s memory, he finished with a 10-2 record with the only blemishes being a 5-4 loss to Gloucester Catholic and a 3-2 loss to Steinert (in the 2001 Mercer County final), both of whom were top 5 teams in the state. That year, Pustay pitched an incredible 75 innings finishing with a strikeout to walk ratio of nearly 10-1.
During the playoff run as a junior, Pustay threw his final few games on only three days rest. As a senior, he pitched another 55 innings, and even more remarkable, walked only three batters for the entire season while striking out 60. Pustay accumulated these statistics while competing against the best teams in New Jersey. For example, as a sophomore, he had shutout wins over state powers Steinert and Notre Dame in the same week.
However, statistics only tell part of the story of Pustay’s career. The key to his success was his remarkable confidence, toughness and competitiveness. Every time he pitched, Pustay expected to win. This attitude both mirrored and influenced his teammates. Excluding a couple of games when he was injured, from his sophomore year until his senior year, he threw a complete game in every game he started. For almost four years, he never had a bad outing and always gave his team a chance to win.
Pustay went on to continue his baseball career as a pitcher at Rutgers, and his impact on Peddie baseball remains. The expectation of excellence and commitment that Pustay and his Peddie teams displayed on a daily basis continues to be a goal that Peddie players have aspired to match. He and his teams left Peddie baseball “better than they found it.”
It is with great pleasure that the Hall of Fame honors Matt Pustay ’02 for his outstanding accomplishments on the mound.