- Junior outfielder Michael Marino (Franklin Square, N.Y.) was featured in Newsday today, an article written by Newsday's William Sammon. -
For three ill-starred years, Mike Marino remained motivated by his belief that things would improve.
He redshirted his freshman season at Farmingdale State after breaking his right hand. He batted .250 the following season and only received 28 at-bats. He hit a measly .226 in 31 at-bats last season.
It wasn't exactly an auspicious start to a college baseball career for the Carey High School graduate. Some would've hung up the cleats.
"That's not my type of personality," said Marino, a junior outfielder. "No matter what, I was going to try and work my way into the lineup, knowing that this year, it was my spot to lose. And, thankfully, I haven't lost it yet."
And it doesn't look like he will anytime soon.
Marino is hitting a scorching .463 with one home run and 11 RBIs through Farmingdale's first 13 games. He owns a .521 on-base percentage after 51 plate appearances and has scored nine runs.
"It's just, wow," Farmingdale coach Keith Osik said. "We couldn't be more happy for Mike. After playing behind a couple of older guys the past two years he finally has his shot and he doesn't want to let it go."
Marino started the season batting seventh in the lineup, but was recently moved to third. He's seen tougher pitches lately and has stayed consistent. Last Saturday in a 14-5 win against Maritime, Marino went 3-for-5 with a homer.
Since his freshman year, Marino said, he has gained 20 pounds of muscle, but the biggest change, according to Osik, is a shortened swing.
"I always knew I had the ability to hit the ball far and for power," Marino said. "The thing is now is that I'm more confident with two strikes. I'm not as anxious. In the past couple of years that was a problem. I don't think my coach was too happy with it."
Osik is beaming now. Marino is one of several hot hitters for the Rams (10-3, 2-0), who hope to win their seventh straight Skyline Conference championship this season. For the first time in three years, Marino is key to getting there.
"Right now the ball is looking like a beach ball at the plate," Marino said. "It's all just been so rewarding."