Anthony Steele finds right fit at Penn State University

Anthony Steele will play baseball for Penn State University in the Big 10 Conference.

Anthony Steele will play baseball for Penn State University in the Big 10 Conference.

Peter Paguaga / Hearst Connecticut Media

Anthony Steele, Shelton’s All-State pitcher-first baseman, will take his skills to Penn State University to compete in the Big 10 Conference.

“Penn St. saw me at a showcase my sophomore year. It felt like a second home,” said Steele, who committed to play for coach Rob Cooper’s Nittany Lions in December of his junior year. “It was pre-COVID and the coaches kept in contact with me even though I didn’t have a season.”

Steele used that down time wisely

“I took it as one more year to better my mechanics, to get stronger, get faster,” said the 6-foot-4, 235-pound Steele. “I took the little things that make up the game of baseball, broke them down and looked to do them the best I can.”

Steele batted. 471 and drove in 24 runs this past season for coach Scott Gura’s Gaels. He hit five home runs and hit .820 with runners in scoring position. A lefthander, Steele struck out 86 batters in 46 innings with a 3.21 ERA.

“Anthony never feels the moment is bigger than him,” Gura said. “He is able to handle any pressure. He is a great teammate.”

Being from New England makes Steele is a rare commodity on the Penn State roster.

“Coach told me I was one of the few kids he’s had from our area,” Steele said. “My roommate is from Missouri. Most of the kids in the incoming class with me are from Pennsylvania. We have a guy from Georgia and another from California. We’ve talked as a group and can’t wait to get there.”

Steele graduated 35th out of his class of 321. A member of the National Honor Society, he was an All-SCC Academic team selection.

“I’m going to major in exercise science and kinesiology, the study of the mechanics of body movements,” he said. “I’d like to be a strength and conditioning coach. Maybe open up a gym for athletes to get better at their sport.”

Baseball came alive for Steele when at age 5 he began throwing the ball in the backyard with his grandfather.

“He grabbed his glove and we had a catch. Since then I’ve loved the game,” said Steele, who moved to Shelton with his mom Robin in 5th grade and joined Little League. “I’ve played (youth) with every kid on the Shelton team at one point or another. This is a great group.”

Despite being a standout, Steele never had what some view as the birth certificate moment. “No, people in the stands or opposing coaches never stopped a game or made a point of it,” Steele said. “To me, there was always one bigger kid, hitting home runs or throwing the ball hard.”

It is that concept Steele brings with him to State College.

“You can’t let a stressful situation overcome you,” Steele said. “It is the mental part of game that will wear you down. Coach Gura has built a great atmosphere for us at Shelton. He cares for us. He wants us to be successful. Practice is about focus but being relaxed at the same time. He tells us the recipe for success is to never be afraid to push yourself and make a mistake.”

Steele hopes he will continue to pitch and bat in college. Is it more satisfying hitting a home run or striking out a batter to leave a bunch of runners on base?

“That’s a tough one. But really it depends on the situation in the game,” he said. “It’s whichever the team needs. They both feel amazing.”

Touted by Coaches

This is what coaches said about Anthony Steele on the Penn State baseball website.

“Another two-way talented prospect coming to us from the state of Connecticut. A highly touted recruit that is ranked as one of the top 150 LHP's in the country by Perfect Game. Shows power from the left-side offensively with an easy effortless swing. Our staff is extremely excited about this kid's potential.”

Penn State’s recruiting class was ranked No. 49 in the nation and No. 4 in the Big Ten by Perfect Game. Twitter: @blox354