Headed to the District Finals Betty D Cox Michael L Evans Thelma R Stamper Therese A Boerger Lady Indians go down in straight sets to Valley in sectional play Manchester hosts the inaugural Southern Ohio Cheer Challenge NAHS girls claim soccer sectional title Seas siblings are SHAC Cross-Country champions Lady Devils will collect fourth consecutive SHAC gold ball trophy Lady Hounds ousted in sectional tourney opener Peebles Lions Club holding Thanksgiving fund raiser FFA Fruit sales have begun, run until Nov. 18 Historical marker is repaired PES will present ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Eagle Creek Health and Rehabilitation Center Open House showcases new unit PES teacher honored by ACOVSD Board Friends of North Adams Library dedicate new brick Veterans Memorial Senior Profile: Landon Wright Geneva E Vogler Susan L Kremin Local golf teams complete play at state tournament Lady Dragons make school history with tournament win Browning gets hands-on look at NASA’s latest robotics Local beautician celebrates 80th birthday Health Department appeals to November voters Betty R Toller Senior Profile: Craig Horton Helen F Hoffer Super Saturday at Freedom Field Lady Dragons hang on for five-set victory over Manchester Seventh Grade Lady Hounds are SHAC Tournament champions Peebles Elementary announces September Students of the Month Rideout’s Muffler celebrating 40th anniversary this month Senior Citizens levy will appear on November ballot Bonnie J Orr Dorothy M Edenfield Senior Profile: Grace Barge Jerry Paquette Dragons get big 38-20 win at Green Manchester takes varsity team titles at West Union Invitational Lady Devils knock off Peebles on Volley For the Cure Night Manhunt ends with arrest of alleged bank robber Senior Profile: Kelsey Friend Lady Dragons finish as District Runners-Up Sectional pairings announced for volleyball and soccer 2 and 3 and worried is me Patricia Clift Adams County Humane Agent saves abandoned dogs and puppies Tourism had major economic impact on Adams County in 2015 Senator Portman brings his campaign to Adams County Betty E Lawson Sanborn NAHS holds National Honor Society induction ceremonies Harlan W Benjamin Joyce A Lafferty Senior Profile: Lee Hesler Dragons get SHAC win, 2-1 over Fairfield North Adams tops Peebles in ‘Kickin Cancer’ battles Double duty coming at Boys’ State Golf Tournament as West Union and North Adams both qualify Humane Society providing ‘Straws For Paws’ North Adams Elementary honors students and staff Russell Rockwell Julie L Wagner Hobert C Robinson Samuel D McClellan Brenda S Bare Clarencce Walker Jr Dolly M Hilterbrandt Jack Roush Day returns to Manchester West Union FFA has busy opening to school year ODOT opens new full-service Maintenance Facility Peebles Elementary introduces Peer Mentoring program Frost is recipient of Morgan Memorial Scholarship Peebles Fire Department has a new addition Heritage Days return to Tranquility Wheat Ridge Olde Thyme Herb Fair and Harvest Festival begins Friday Caraway Farm hosts annual Pumpkin Festival ‘Run Gio’ makes a visit to Adams County Senior Profile: Mackenzie Smith West Union, North Adams grab top two spots in Division III golf sectional tournament This memory will live with me forever Will M Stern West Union and North Adams-State Bound! Lillian N Smith Betty R Shelton Barbara ER Bohl Brenda Farley Senior Profile: Caitlyn Bradford Dragons roar to 40-0 Homecoming victory Greyhounds take three of four races at annual Adams County Meet Monarch Meadows holds grand opening Discovering a touch of glass on Erie’s Shores Junior L Conaway William B Brumley Sr Fred G Davis Ohio Valley FFA Officers for 2016-17 named ACRMC Emergency Care Center renamed after Dr. Bruce Ashley West Union holds football Homecoming festivities First graders pick the Sheriff Cross honored by ODNR with the prestigious Cardinal Award

Local ballplayer achieves MLB dream

A ball player with local ties just got the most important promotion in his career, his promotion to the major leagues.

Matt Marksberry, a graduate of Glen Este High School and whose parents graduated from North Adams High School, had his major league debut for the Atlanta Braves on July 31 against the Philadelphia Phillies where he pitched one and 2/3 innings, giving up two hits, 1 walk and no runs.

Marksberry had been scoreless in his first five appearances as a big-leaguer, but after giving up one run in a loss to Miami on Aug. 9, Marksberry had his first “Welcome to the Majors” moment when he was knocked around for three earned runs on four hits in two-thirds of an inning in a game Wednesday night at Tampa.

Still, it’s been a remarkable couple of weeks for the young man from Batavia.

“It’s very different coming from the minor leagues,” Marksberry said. “It’s a totally different lifestyle and definitely puts things into perspective. You just realize how good you have it now and how other people don’t have it as good as you.”

While nobody’s time in the major leagues is guaranteed, Marksberry is enjoying the perks of the job for the time being, especially the travel and the food.

“We get to travel on chartered flights which is one of the biggest things,” Marksberry said. “In the minors it was play a game and then get on a bus and drive five or six hours to get to the next place. Now we just go to the airport, walk right out onto the tarmac and get right to the flight. The food is so much better here too. It’s immaculate.”

Marksberry was selected by the Braves in the 15th round of the 2013 MLB Amateur Draft out of Campbell University. From there he quickly went up the ranks in the minor league system playing rookie ball at Danville, VA in 2013.

In the far less glamorous minor leagues making only a few hundred dollars per week, Marksberry found himself with added stresses and pressures many professional athletes don’t have to worry about – money issues and student loan payments from college.

“People see minor league players and say ‘You make a lot of money’ but so many people don’t realize that some people at McDonald’s are making way, way more money. It was very stressful having life problems while you’re competing at the highest level that you can. I just kept thinking, ‘If I can make it to the big leagues then all my problems will be solved.’ I’d be lying if said I didn’t want to get up here so I can provide for my family.”

After playing all year in A-ball in 2014 and starting out the season once again in A-ball in 2015, Marksberry got called into the manager’s office after a game and was told he was being called up to a higher team. Marksberry thought the natural progression would be promotion to AA ball, but the Braves had him skip AA and promoted him to AAA immediately.

“I was shocked,” Marksberry said. “We were in Potomac and I’d been pitching really well. I got called into the office and I figured I’d be going to AA and I thought, ‘There we go, sweet.’ But no, I’m going to AAA and I thought, ‘Oh wow, that’s even better.’ I don’t think it was supposed to be long term but it went well so they kept me up there and it just worked out.”

Marksberry impressed the Braves in his 11 AAA appearances with a 2.61 earned run average while also striking out eight and only walking one. Those performances led the Braves staff to believe Marksberry deserved a shot on the big stage, and the call-up was made.

One of Marksberry’s first phone calls was to his father once he got the news. His father, Bob, called it a “huge surprise.”

“He was in single-A less than two months ago,” Bob Marksberry said. “Then he got called up directly to AAA and he was only there for a few weeks. And then I got a call about 3 o’clock in the afternoon on July 30 and he said, ‘Dad, I got activated and I’m on a flight to Philly for a 7 o’clock game.’ It was a huge surprise and unexpected. My wife and I were very excited and Matt is thankful for the Braves organization.”

The Braves were on the road in Philadelphia when Marksberry got the call and got into town during the middle of the game. After changing into his uniform in the clubhouse and coming out into the dugout, he got to run out to the bullpen in the outfield in between innings,on the field for the first time as a big leaguer.

“We didn’t end up getting to the field until about 8:30-8:45 so we had enough time and it was the seventh inning,” Marksberry said. “In the eighth my other new teammate and I ran out to the bullpen and it was just awesome. It’s hard to describe, it’s what childhood dreams are like when you step onto the field as a player.”

Since Marksberry is the new guy in the bullpen, where players may not be asked to do anything but watch the game for six or seven innings, the responsibility of making sure the bullpen has enough candy and snacks for the game rests on his shoulders.

“Yea, I’m the bullpen bag guy right now,” Marksberry said. “I fill up the backpack with candy, treats, sunflower seeds, whatever the guys want. At least it’s a Red Bull bag, the other guys are really nice, they could’ve given me a pink bag to carry around or something.”

While his career so far has been brief, one first that Marksberry is especially fond of is his first major league strikeout, which came with one out in the eighth inning of a game against the San Francisco Giants. Marksberry struck out Brandon Crawford on a high fastball out of the zone.

“My first strikeout was really cool,” Marksberry said. “I got Crawford, who’s a really good hitter, a high caliber kind of player. It was just an awesome feeling. I remember thinking, ‘Alright cool, I got it.’ I got him in an 0-2 count and got him to chase. A guy like that usually doesn’t swing at that stuff.”

Marksberry got to keep that ball that struck out Crawford, along with the ball and lineup card from his first major league appearance. He mailed those treasures home, frightened he might lose them.

“I saved it all,” Marksberry said. “I sent it home. I don’t trust myself with that stuff. If I lost those things that would be pretty bad.”

Bob makes sure he doesn’t miss one of his son’s games, as he purchased an internet package through Major League Baseball so he can watch all the Braves games live.

“I got home the first night he got called up and could not find the Braves on my 1000 channels of Time Warner Digital,” Bob Marksberry said. “I was freaking out but then I found the MLB package!”

Matt was quick to thank his parents, who he said without them, there’s no chance he’d be pitching from a big-league rubber today.

“My parents have given me everything I’ve needed,” Marksberry said. “Endless hours of baseball camps, lessons, support and they’ve been my biggest supporters. I couldn’t have done anything without them.”

While Bob and his wife, Sandra, from Winchester, have yet to travel to a major league stadium to see their son play, that trip should be in the works soon.

“It’s funny, I have friends that have gone to games so far in Atlanta and Tampa but ‘Ol Dad’ is stuck here watching on TV,” Bob said. “We hope to catch him soon in Chicago or Atlanta.”

The proud father said watching his son achieve his dream gives him goosebumps.

“I am very proud of [Matt’s] dedication and work ethic,” Bob said. “But for anyone to have the opportunity to cha
se their dreams and to work towards a lifetime goal and to achieve it, man, that’s what it’s all about. And you have to remember all the good folks who help you and teach you and have faith in you. That’s what puts goosebumps on me.”

Reach Charles Grove at 937-544-2391, cgrove@civitasmedia.com or @WUDefender on Twitter.

Matt Marksberry, warming up in the bullpen for the Atlanta Braves.
http://www.peoplesdefender.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/web1_Marksberry.jpgMatt Marksberry, warming up in the bullpen for the Atlanta Braves. Courtesy Photo

By Charles Grove


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