'Old-school' Cima contributes in big way for Seton Hill
College Football Videos
When Seton Hill baseball coach Marc Marizzaldi calls catcher Mike Cima “old-school,” he's talking about more than just the Penn-Trafford graduate's playing style.
Instead, Marizzaldi is talking about Cima's willingness to wait for his opportunity to contribute.
For three seasons, Cima served as a role player for the Griffins as older, more experienced players held down the starting jobs at catcher and third base.
When the time did come for Cima to step up into a bigger role, he did so in fine fashion. The catcher batted .364 for the Griffins during his senior season, finishing with 11 home runs and 54 runs batted in — both good for the second-best marks on the team. The Griffins (42-17) ended the season one win shy of the NCAA Division II World Series in Cary, N.C.
“It was kind of like the highest of highs and the lowest of lows,” Cima said. “We walked away from (the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) Tournament with a bit of confidence about us, had a good week and a half of practice and went to the regional tournament, came out hot there and felt supremely confident.
“(We) ran into some misfortunes, and (it was) kind of a heartbreaking way to go out, especially to end a career. But I wouldn't trade it. I had a great time with my teammates.”
Cima was named to the All-WVIAC second team after the season, an honor that came about only after three years as a role player.
In his first three seasons at Seton Hill, Cima appeared in 44 games, with 15 starts. In 71 combined at-bats, he hit .254 with three home runs and 18 RBI.
Despite the lack of playing time, Cima said he didn't get discouraged — instead opting to learn from the more experienced players in front of him.
“(Disappointment) comes through your mind sometimes,” he said. “But when you play for a good team, a quality baseball team, you've got to just sit back and enjoy the good baseball in front of you sometimes and just know that your number will be called and you'll have an opportunity to prove yourself. I feel when those opportunities presented themselves to me, I was able to stay committed to what I wanted to do.”
Marizzaldi said that type of attitude is becoming rare among younger baseball players in recent years.
“It's getting tougher and tougher each year to find kids that say: ‘Hey, I'm going to come there. I know I'm not going to play, but I know I'm going to win and get better,'” Marizzaldi said. “That doesn't draw kids in like it used to.
“And that's where Mike's kind of an old-school type of player. He'll come in and work and work and work. He doesn't make it all about him and his chances, but more about being part of the team's success.”
With a starting job up for grabs for his senior season, Cima said he worked hard in the offseason to get his body ready for the grind of playing a full season.
And it was a grind: Cima started 50 games as the Griffins' No. 1 catcher in 2013.
“I wasn't exactly used to that amount of wear and tear, but I tried to muscle through it,” Cima said. “I got through it with a little bit of help. It was definitely a different monster there, catching 40-plus games this year.”
At the plate, Cima batted in the cleanup spot, behind All-American Nick Sell, who led the team in batting average, home runs and RBI this season.
Marizzaldi said it was a risk putting an untested player behind Sell, but it worked out for his team.
“That put a lot of pressure on Cima, knowing he was hitting behind a guy like that,” Marizzaldi said. “But the numbers tell the story of how successful he was. I wish I could tell you we expected that from him, but we really didn't know. We thrust him into a pretty important spot in the lineup, and he did a great job.”
Cima graduated this spring and plans to attend graduate school for epidemiology. Despite the way this season ended, he said he “wouldn't have traded my four years here for anywhere in the world.”
“(We have a) great group of guys, great coach in Maz and great community as well,” he said. “(It was a) great place to go to school. I just enjoyed every second of my four years there.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Thiel big man Mallinger thrives on rejection
- Thomas Jefferson grads competing with new Carlow men’s basketball team
- District college notebook: IUP senior puts Stamp on program
- Hampton grad’s return from injury buoys La Roche College womens soccer
- Cal U falls to Findlay after earning No. 22 ranking
- Even while injured, Jeanette’s Edmunds a contributor for St. Vincent football
- Campus clippings: Springdale grad nets All-PAC honors