By A.J. Martelli
“Baseball is a marathon, not a sprint,” says Justin Muscarella, senior infielder on the Mavericks baseball team. “Everyone feels different this year. The team is in high spirits, and we are up for the challenge.”
Muscarella and the baseball team recently journeyed to Fort Pierce, Fl. to compete against a set of non-conference opponents. Rain may have jumbled the schedule, but the team went 2-3 on the road. Both wins came on the first day the team arrived in Florida, as they swept a doubleheader against Pitt-Johnstown.
The Mavs won the first game by a score of 4-2 and claimed victory by a count of 5-2 in the second game, in which Muscarella shined. He reached base safely twice while knocking in a run in the second win over Pitt-Johnstown.
“We went to Florida optimistic, and we want this year to go very smoothly,” Muscarella stated. “It was good to go in there and get the two wins right away. The rain set us back and frustrated the team mentally. We wanted to be out there because we were pumped up.”
Always an avid fan of baseball, Muscarella grew up rooting for the Yankees because of their success level. His love for the sport prompted him to join his high school squad, as he played for Island Trees High School in Levittown. Muscarella noticed a strong difference playing in high school as compared to college.
“There is so much more competition on the collegiate level,” Muscarella remarked. “As a player and a competitor, you have to work harder. It’s more hands-down at this level and it’s a lot different than it was in high school.”
Now in his final season as a Mercy Maverick, Muscarella is hoping for a playoff run and possibly a championship to cap off his college career. He expressed his confidence in what he expects from the team this year.
“I just want us to be successful, and personally I want to help the team out as much as I can,” he said. “All the freshmen have been putting in 110 percent, we have a young team, and everyone’s spirits are just high. We are a well-oiled machine and we want to win the East Coast Conference!”
The Mavericks began ECC play on March 20 against Bridgeport.
In the future, Muscarella hopes to remain involved in the sport of baseball. Now that his college career is almost at its conclusion, Muscarella wishes to help younger players develop and mature.
“I work as a personal trainer, and I help kids with their baseball progress,” he stated. “I want to help them because as I was growing up, I never really had that support. My overall goal for them is to just lend my assistance and maybe one day, become a coach.”
But as for the present, Muscarella will settle for a good 2010 season. He wants to end his college playing days on a high note and would like to be wiser from the experience.
“I just want our team to be happy and we want to have fun,” he said. “We seniors should be able to take something away from this season and learn some lessons that can stick with us past our college lives.”