Eric Peterson, Published September 03 2013
Love for soccer runs as deep as family heritage for RedHawks ace
The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks pitcher has an Italian national team tattoo on his left arm.
“I’m a huge soccer fan,” said Stanton, who went to Deer Valley High School in Antioch, Calif. “My family is full Italian.”
Stanton’s focus will be on baseball at 7:02 tonight at Newman Outdoor Field.
The right-hander is the Game 1 starter for F-M in its best-of-5 series against Gary SouthShore in the American Association playoff semifinals.
Stanton was named the American Association Pitcher of the Year for the regular season. Stanton had a 9-4 record with a 2.42 ERA in 19 starts.
“He’s a very coachable, very personable, very California-type guy,” said RedHawks manager Doug Simunic. “He’s been a pleasant surprise.”
In his youth, Stanton liked Italian soccer player Francesco Totti, who still plays. Stanton said Totti has been his hero for a long time.
“My email address used to be ‘totti12’ when I was 12 years old,” Stanton said. “I like all the Italian players. I like watching the game, because it’s a beautiful game.”
Stanton was a three-sport athlete in high school, playing baseball, soccer and football. His two older brothers both played soccer in college.
His raw baseball talent, however, overrode his passion for soccer. So he ended up playing baseball in college.
“In high school I threw hard,” Stanton said. “I didn’t know anything about the baseball game, but all I knew is I could throw a baseball hard. That’s where I was getting most of my (Division I) offers. So I took it.”
Stanton started his college career at St. Mary’s (Calif.) College. He then spent a season with Diablo Valley (Calif.) College before the Seattle Mariners organization drafted him.
He spent five seasons in the Mariners system before signing with the RedHawks prior to this season. Stanton split time between starting and the bullpen in his final few season in Seattle’s system.
Stanton likes that he’s been locked in as a starter with the RedHawks.
He feels that starting suits him better.
“That’s what I want to do. I like getting on a routine,” Stanton said.
“I feel like my arm comes back better as a starter. … It’s probably been the greatest year of my career so far.”
F-M is hoping that trend continues through the postseason.
“He throws four pitches … but he throws from two separate arm angles,” said RedHawks pitching coach Steve Montgomery. “You never know what arm angle he is going to come from.”
Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.
Peterson’s blog can be found at peterson.areavoices.com