Mariotti will pitch for Italy in WBC

by on January 23, 2013


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* RHP John Mariotti (Toronto, Ont.) is working out at The Baseball Zone getting ready to  represent the “Azzuri” Team Italy in the World Baseball Classic. Italy faces Mexico, USA and Canada at Chase Field in Phoenix, Az. and Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale, beginning March 7. Mariotti pitched for Murray Marshall’s Hamilton Astros. Photo  Studios ….

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By Roberto Angotti

Having been previously drafted twice by Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim scout Alex Messier after graduating from Toronto’s Chaminade College School in 2003 and again in 2004 while attending Florida’s Gulf Coast Community College, the third time was the charm.

The Baltimore Orioles used their 18th round 2007 pick to select John Mariotti. 

He signed on the dotted line and began his pro ball career after leading the nationally-ranked Coastal Carolina University Chanticleers to Big South Conference prominence, compiling an impressive 13-2 career record.

The 6-foot-1 right hander made his pro debut in 2007 with the Orioles’ class-A Aberdeen club, posting a 2-2 record with a 1.46 ERA. He spent his entire 2008 campaign at class-A Delmarva.

Mariotti began the 2009 season at class-A Frederick and moved up to Double-A Bowie, where he started 13 games and compiled a 3.44 ERA. The Orioles’ farmhand was back at Frederick in 2010, when he made 41 appearances out of the bullpen and chalked up three saves.

The Woodbridge, Ont. MiLB expat was a welcome addition to the 2011 Québec Capitales‘ starting pitching rotation in the independent Can-Am League. Mariotti went 11-1 in the regular season with 2.74 ERA in 108 1/3 innings of work before going undefeated in the postseason with a 1.98 ERA.

The Philadelphia Phillies came calling for Mariotti as he was signed to a minor league contract and invited to 2012 spring training. The hype was short-lived, and he retreated to comfy Les Capitales de Québec, where he tallied a 10-1 record in 98.1 innings with a 4.03 ERA in 2012.

Under the leadership of manager Marco Mazzieri, pitching coach Bill Holmberg, hitting coach Mike Piazza, third base coach Alberto D’Auria and first base coach Claudio Vecchi, Team Italy remained undefeated (9-0) in the 2012 European Championship.

Italy outscored opponents 45-4 in the first five games of Pool A competition and then continued their winning ways outscoring others 18-6 in the remaining four games of the medal round.

By defeating the Netherlands twice back-to-back on their home turf during the final two days of the 2012 European Championship Team Italy demonstrated its resilience against a squad which was the biggest surprise of the 2009 World Baseball Classic. Remember the Dutch defeated the Dominican Republic twice and moved on to the second round of play.

Let’s put the Italian victory over the Netherlands in the 2012 European Championship into perspective. By the Dutch winning the 2011 World Cup after upsetting a talented Cuban team in the finals, does that make Italy the new elite class of European baseball and the spoiler in the upcoming 2013 World Baseball Classic?

With John Mariotti’s winning spirit, not to mention him limiting the Netherlands to three hits and two runs — one earned — while striking out six in six innings of work in the final, Italy has got a real shot.

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