Suozzi Swaps Sandy Beaches for the Sandlot
A year removed from high school baseball, Joe Suozzi’s summer was typical of many 19-year old former athletes; one vastly different than one experienced by any college baseball player competing at as high of a level as the ACC. A year later, Suozzi has since completed his first season as an outfielder at Boston College, but his path to this point was anything but typical.
“During the summer last year, I just lifeguarded,” recalled Suozzi. “And, this is kind of funny, I was playing in men’s softball games so I didn’t play any baseball games last summer.”
He spent his summer days on Long Island as a lifeguard and his nights playing slow-pitch softball in his hometown of Glen Cove, N.Y. One year later, he finds himself at the opposite end of Long Island, playing summer ball for the Sag Harbor Whalers of the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League.
Suozzi enrolled at BC in the fall of 2016 as a freshman with no scholarship offer and nothing more than an opportunity to showcase his talent in a walk-on tryout; though there was not a spot available on the Eagles’ roster.
“I tried out in 2016. I got into school by myself and my dad was like, ‘Joe you have to try out for this team’. Coach [Mike] Gambino talked to my travel team and said he’d give me two weeks. So I tried out and after two weeks I just kind of hung around. I did pretty well, but they can only have 35 guys on the roster. Once the spring came around, I was just a regular student again and couldn’t do anything with the team.”
After finishing last summer by training on his own in the hopes of earning a spot on the BC squad, Suozzi returned to campus and did just that as he became a permanent part of the Eagle roster.
A right-handed hitting outfielder, Suozzi appeared in just three games with three plate appearances through the first seven weeks of the season. He made his first start against Pittsburgh on April 7 and combined to go 3-for-8 in the series and remained in the lineup as BC’s right fielder in 20 of the final 23 games.
For his first collegiate summer ball experience, Suozzi signed with Sag Harbor, which plays less than two hours from his hometown. He and BC teammate Michael Marzonie are living and playing together on a Whaler roster that features players from California, Texas, Florida and seemingly everywhere in between.
“It’s definitely nice because we know how to push each other and can always pick each other up,” Suozzi said of playing with Marzonie. “It’s nice to have a really close friend on the team. He’s pitching pretty well. He had one start and was dominant in relief.”
On the bump, Marzonie has made four appearances with a 0-1 record and 3.85 earned run average. He has struck out seven and walked just four in seven innings of work.
Through 11 games, the Whalers are 5-5-1 overall. Suozzi is hitting .379 (11-for-29) with at least one hit in all eight games he has played in. He homered in a 3-for-4, three-run performance against the Westhampton Aviators last Monday.
“I’m just trying to hit the ball hard. I’m really looking forward to getting back next year. Last year was a big wake-up call for our team so we’re out here trying to get ready for 2019.”