Zack Tax Rewrites the History Books at Rye Country Day School

It’s difficult to avoid the numbers when Rye Country Day baseball star Zack Tax is the topic of conversation.

The senior pitcher blew past the former school record for strikeouts (155) earlier this season, and by season’s end his current mark of 198 should have a few more heaping portions of Ks piled on top. Tax’s career record of 18-2 as a starter also has him within a game of tying Evan Oleson’s all-time record for wins, and – barring the unfathomable – he should finish well below the career ERA record of 1.84.

Zack Tax

His records speak for themselves. When the Columbia-bound ace speaks, though, it’s about the team’s success. Not his own.

“After faltering last year, we want to come back and show that we’re the best team in the Fairchester Athletic Association,” said Tax, whose favorite MLB player is the scrappy David Eckstein. “I put the team first and the records just happen on their own.”

His fondest memories on the field came in 2008, when he helped the 20-3 Wildcats to their first-ever FAA tourney championship. Tax started the tournament finale on the mound for Rye Country Day, and finished it from the plate by delivering the game-winning RBI single in extra innings.

Tax learned much as a sophomore on that senior-laden championship squad, and happily recalls his days following the lead of players he still considers “class acts and role models” like Will Baine, Marco Blasetti and Brandon Nieuw. Now he understands that, as his days at Rye Country Day wind down, it’s on him to be that person younger players look up to.

And that’s already the case. The two-year captain is revered by both teammates and coaches. He won the Coaches’ Award in 2008, and was given the Wildcat Award last year, which is the team’s MVP honor as voted by the players.

“Zack is passionate about the game and playing it the right way: hard, confidently, ethically, patiently, focused, and determined,” said head coach Ted Lawrence. “He does not like to have to get his teammates up for a game by talking to them – although he will if need be. He would rather lead by example. He is usually the first out to games and practice, where he works the hardest, and he never gets down or upset in games regardless of the situation. Instead he tries to keep players in it. Zack is a true leader.”

Tax, who began swinging a bat with his grandmother at the park when he was three years old, will be the first baseball player in Wildcat history to play Division 1. He puts academics first and foremost – Tax plans to study political science and economics – but effusively praised Lawrence for putting him in position to play just 25 minutes from home.

“Coach was there for me when I met him in sixth grade at one of his baseball clinics and he’s been behind me ever since,” said Tax. “He’s my advisor at school, so I see him every day. He’s just a great guy on and off the field. It’s almost like I have a second dad when I go to school.”

The feeling is mutual.

“We have had a good relationship for so long,” said Lawrence, a former Triple-A catcher. “I knew he could play and that he was a good kid even then. I will be honest and say I didn’t realize just how good a player, student and person he would become. I am as proud of him as I am of my own sons; he means that much to me. His success is no accident, and he has earned and deserves every bit of the attention and accolades that have come and are coming his way.”

Tax says he will finish out his senior year by doing what school faculty urged his class to do prior to the start of the school year.

“As clichéd as it sounds, I’m going to take it day by day,” he said. “I just want to enjoy my classes, friends and teammates. I want to enjoy the moment.”

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One Response to “Zack Tax Rewrites the History Books at Rye Country Day School”

  1. Jo falcone Says:

    It’s nice to know that someone like Zach represents the young people of today!
    I heard about Zach from my grandson – Ben Norris – who said he was the best baseball player he knew. And that he thought the majors should be looking at him.
    Zach – follow your dreams – and the rest of your life will follow.
    Congratulations to all
    Jo

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