Markins to join former teammates, foes at VSU
By JACOB VAUGHAN, Sports Editor
Jul 24, 2013, 14:23
Former Colonial Heights High School baseball standout David Markins (left), shown here playing shortstop against Dinwiddie in May, will play catcher at Virginia State University next spring. Markins will join his older brother, Josh, at the Division II school in Ettrick (photo by Jacob Vaughan).
COLONIAL HEIGHTS – Recent Colonial Heights graduate David Markins toiled against players from the Central District’s perennial powerhouses for the entirety of his high school baseball career.
Ironically, the opportunity to play alongside many of those former foes helped lure the sought-after catcher to Virginia State University in nearby Ettrick.
Markins recently selected the Trojans from a handful of college suitors. He will join a team that features 12 returning players who also plied their trade in the high school district that stretches from Dinwiddie to northern Chesterfield.
“The fact that it’s near my home is nice,” Markins said of VSU. “But I also wanted to play baseball with some of the kids I played against in high school. It will be nice to play with the guys from Dinwiddie and Matoaca instead of against them.”
David Markins (5) celebrates with his Colonial Heights High School teammates after hitting a home run against Dinwiddie at Shepherd Stadium in May (photo by Jacob Vaughan).
David Markins also will reunite with his older brother, third baseman Josh Markins, and former high school teammate Brandon Schilke.
The four-year varsity starter said he achieved his longest-standing ambition when he finalized his commitment to Chesterfield County’s only college baseball team.
“This is what I worked for, so actually getting to this point in my life feels wonderful,” Markins said. “I couldn’t be any happier than I am now.”
That elation is the result an emotional about-face four months in the making.
Markins started Colonial Heights’ season opener against Henrico on March 14, but his debut ended in the first inning. A foul ball struck the knuckle at the base of his right index finger, breaking the bone and sidelining him for more than a month.
The injury required a surgical procedure that left Markins with four screws embedded in his throwing hand.
“At first, it was heartbreaking,” Markins said. “I worked all my life to get to my last year of high school baseball, which was supposed to be my favorite year. The luck just was not there in that first game.”
His absence was devastating for the Colonials, but his comeback was rejuvenating.
Markins returned to the batting order as a shortstop on April 18. After going hitless in his first two games, the versatile right-hander finished a triple shy of the cycle in a 3-for-3, five-RBI performance against Petersburg on April 22.
He averaged .400 and amassed 14 RBIs and two home runs in nine games last season. As a junior, Markins churned out a batting average of .288 and an on-base percentage of .441 while emerging as the team’s everyday catcher.
He played third base as a freshman and second base as a sophomore.
“He was pretty close to having all five tools at the high school level,” said former Colonial Heights coach Brian Holt, who retired at the end of last season. “If he had a shortcoming, it may have been speed, but that got better every year. He’s certainly at least average, and he runs above average for a catcher.
“He was the strongest arm I had and the strongest bat I had. He had great hands, and he was just solid.”
Markins – who also was a four-year fixture on the Colonial Heights golf team – hopes to replace fellow Colonial Heights alumnus and recent VSU graduate J.D. McCarty as the Trojans’ starting catcher. Another Colonial Heights product, Andrew Holt, held the position in 2010.
“I’m planning to go in, start right away and help as much as I can,” Markins said.
That goal appears to be in line with those of VSU coach Merrill Morgan.
“He can flat out play,” Morgan said. “He has great pop time and a great baseball pedigree. Hid dad and his brothers all play. Following his older brother, I think they’re going to do very well together.”
The notion that one sibling will sharpen another is a familiar one in the Markins family. David Markins is the second-oldest of four brothers, all of whom play baseball.
“Having three brothers who also play baseball kind of made things challenging,” he said. “We kind of competed against each other, and it made us better.”
When he’s not behind the plate, Markins enjoys hunting, fishing and playing golf. He plans to major in criminal justice and hopes to pursue a career as a conservation officer or game warden.