It was another successful season on the diamond for Shoreham-Wading River. The Wildcats captured the League VII title with a record of 15-2.
Their success was fueled by a relentless offense that featured contributions up-and-down the lineup. One of their most impactful hitters all season was senior Joey Marchese.
The power-hitting outfielder put together a slash line of .453/.533/.703 with an insane 1.236 OPS, seven doubles, three home runs, 20 RBIs, 17 runs and 11 stolen bases. His ability to come through in the big moments — including two game-winning, walk-off hits — was a tremendous asset for Shoreham.
But beyond the baseball field, Marchese dealt with the absolutely heartbreaking news that his sister tragically passed away in a car crash just before her high school graduation three years ago. It’s the type of unspeakable tragedy nobody should have to deal with.
Somehow he’s been able to pick up the pieces and find the strength to keep going, and he has thrived on the field. Marchese will begin playing college ball at SUNY Cobleskill in the fall, and there’s every reason to believe he will be an impact player at the next level.
Who are your favorite players in Major League Baseball, and why?
A couple players I really look up to and would call my favorite players are Pete Alonso and Jacob deGrom. For Pete Alonso, it’s the type of player he is. He’s a big guy and he’s a home run hitter and he’s a role model for me because I’m definitely a big guy and I think I can definitely become a better home run hitter as I develop. As for deGrom, it’s his work ethic and his dedication to be the very best at what he does. I really admire this and I would like to be just like him.
Do you take private lessons with anyone?
During the off-season, I took private hitting lessons with Tyler Osik. He was a massive help to me and really made a big difference for me as a hitter.
What did you work on this off-season to improve your game?
The off-season made a huge difference for me, especially as a hitter. My hitting coach, Tyler Osik, and I worked on many things, but a couple key things we worked on was getting my foot down early and recognizing pitches better, and the other thing which really changed my game was hitting curveballs. I would go for lessons at least two times per week and would hit off a pitching machine throwing curveballs for at least a half hour every time.
Can you explain your experience with the college recruiting process and how you made your decision?
During the summer I was contacted by a few different schools. including Plattsburgh, Cobleskill and a few more through mostly text message. As for Cobleskill, my summer travel team coach had a relationship with the head coach up at Cobleskill and he got them on my radar. My coach had told me about this and shortly after the [Cobbleskill] coach contacted me. They had also seen me play during the summer and eventually we set up a call.
After he texted me for the first time, I looked into the school a bit and was looking at different majors and how far it was and everything seemed to be lining up well. They had a major that I was immediately interested in it as soon as I saw it – grass/turf management.
So when I spoke to the coach on the phone, he told me about the baseball program and how he runs his team, and he told me that he was very interested in me and that made me very excited. Also on the call, I asked him about the major I was interested in and he said that it is very unique and Cobleskill is one of only 5 schools that offer that major in the entire country. As soon as he said that, I was hooked. Plus, the school is only about a four-hour drive Upstate, which I should say made my mom very happy.
We eventually set up a visit and went there up there and the baseball coaches and a senior player took us on a tour of the campus and showed us all their different facilities and where the team trains. Towards the end of the visit the coach looked at me and said, “So listen, we’re offering you a spot on the team if you want it.” When he said this, I think my heart skipped a beat. I didn’t know what to say — in my head I knew this was a done deal, but in the moment I didn’t know what to say. So, I said ‘Well, I’m definitely very interested in coming here,’ and a few days later I texted him and let him know I was ready to make my commitment to SUNY Cobleskill.
So between the baseball and the academics and the location, it was the best fit for me and I am very happy with the decision I made.
Can you discuss the impact that your sister had on your life and some of your fondest memories with her?
This is always a hard topic for me to talk about, but my sister was always a huge part of my life. Growing up, she was my best friend and we did everything together. Not only was she my big sister, she was my role model in not only sports but in life.
My sister, Melissa, was one of the greatest people I’ve ever known. She was always there for me when I needed help – whether it was after a baseball game that I struggled in or if it was a school project I needed help with. As for sports, my sister was my idol. She was an elite softball player, and was going to go on to play Division I softball at Hartford University.
My sister had a major impact on my baseball career. She helped me in so many ways that she probably doesn’t even know. Just watching her play softball was a learning lesson for me each and every time. She was so dedicated to what she was doing that it just made me want to be just like her.
When me and my sister were younger, my dad used to take us to the field behind our house and practice baseball and softball with us. When he would be throwing BP (batting practice) to me, she would be in the outfield getting the balls. And when she was the one hitting, I was in the outfield catching her hits.
I never knew how helpful that was for my baseball career until I got older. But now I really understand that if I didn’t have her I wouldn’t be where I am today. I can remember just a few years ago going to the field with her to work on my pitching. She was a huge help because she was catcher, so I didn’t have to ask one of my friends to come catch me.
I had my own built-in catcher and she would never complain when I would throw a ball in the dirt and it would bounce up and hit her. She would just get up and throw it back to me every time. I realized when I matured that my sister was the one who was always there for me.
She was my big sister, my idol, my biggest fan and the best teammate that I ever dad. I’ll never get her back, but if I could – I would just want to say thank you for making me the player and person I am today. I love you big sis, fly high.
What was the best experience you’ve had on a baseball field in your life?
The best experience that I think I’ve ever had on a baseball field came when I was 12 during the district championship game for my little league all-star team. It was the bottom of the seventh in a tied 7-7 game and on the second pitch of my at bat, I hit a home run over the right field fence to win the District 36 championship. It was a crazy moment and one that I will never forget. All my teammates dog piled on me at the plate, and it was the best feeling ever.
Favorite pregame meal?
My mom’s homemade meatloaf and mashed potatoes.
Favorite pregame hype music?
What are you looking to study in college?
Any superstitions before/during a game?
Like most baseball players, my biggest superstition is not stepping on the line during the game or even at practice. As for unique superstitions, I try not to have too many because it can mess with my head. But I have a couple — like leaving my helmet and batting gloves at the opening of the fence. That way they are always there when it is my turn to hit. Another thing I always do during the game, which I’m sure most people and even my family don’t know about, is talk to my sister in my head before every game and before every at bat; this releases my nerves and allows me to relax.
Photos: Axcess Sports