Jeannette sophomre Mash turns focus toward baseball
Tony Mash, a sophomore for the Jeannette Jayhawks baseball team, has been playing baseball since he was old enough to give T-ball a try.
“My dad (Greg) played baseball when he was younger and my brother (Michael) was already playing baseball,” Mash said. He also plays soccer in the fall.
Over the years he's also played football and hockey, but has since left those sports.
Baseball is his focus.
He enjoys the competitive atmosphere and the intelligence it takes to play the game.“You're constantly thinking. If the ball is hit to you, you have to be thinking and running plays through in your mind,” he said.
Though the 2013 season didn't end the way the Jayhawks had hoped, Mash saw personal growth this season.
“I think hitting-wise, I was a lot better than last year. My pitching has improved.
“ There is nothing I regret, but I didn't exceed my expectations. I just want to get better every year,” he said.
Mash splits time between pitching and first base. For now, he prefers first base but said that by the time he is in his senior year he expects to like pitching more.
“I like first base a lot,” he said. “There is always something going on at first base. I love getting scoops out of the dirt. You're always in the play.”
This year's team didn't make the playoffs, but the group had several great leaders, Mash said.
“This year we were focused on games and winning. We never stopped, never gave up and never stopped fighting no matter what.”
Specifically, Mash points to the leadership of senior pitcher Garrett Elliott.
“He's always been a leader. He always knows the right thing to say to calm me down,” Mash said.
Coach Marcus Clarkson has so much love for the game that it makes his players enthusiastic, said Mash.
“He still plays. If he could, he'd play every day with us. He would do anything to make us better,” he said.
“I grew up knowing him because he coached my brother. I love how he sets up the game.
“Having someone who plays the game is a lot better than someone who is just coaching for fun.”
Mash set a personal goal for himself this season, to improve his batting average, which he did.
“We had more hitting days in practice at the middle school cage and I think that helped.
“I've been lifting in the off season, which helped a lot,” he said.
His older brother, Michael, has been helping to get him on a weight lifting program.
After high school, Mash is hoping to attend Penn State University to study engineering.
He is leaning toward mechanical engineering.
He has always been a creative person who enjoys inventing items.
At one point, he made his own cell phone.
He'd enjoy playing baseball in college if he has the chance, but Mash said attending Penn State and studying his preferred major is more important to him than continuing baseball.
In high school, Mash is a member of Alpha Hi-Y and is treasurer of the sophomore class student council.
He also has a part-time job at Chick-Fil-A, which he really enjoys. A few of his close friends also work at the restaurant, which makes it a fun atmosphere.
Mash would like to thank his parents, Greg and Anita Mash, and brother, Michael, for always motiving him to play to never give up.
He is thankful to his grandparents, Chuck Feola, Nancy and Eugene Mash, and the late Judy Feola, for attending every game they could and supporting him.
Kristie Linden is an editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at email@example.com or 724-838-5154.