Markins Pitching, Hitting Help Fuel The Colonials
By Ryan Lazo, sports editor
May 1, 2014, 09:07
Ryan Lazo/Hopewell News/News-Patriot
COLONIAL HEIGHTS — Much like Dustin Pedroia of the Boston Red Sox, the Colonials' Seth Markins has had to prove to others his size should not detract from the way he plays the game. It's why when Markins watches Major League Baseball on television, he looks to Pedroia as a role model for what he can do on the diamond.
The Red Sox second baseman has opened the door for smaller athletes and shown that, yes, even smaller hitters can hit for both power and average while doing the little things needed to help their teams earn a win. Watch Markins for a few games and the resemblance between him and Pedroia is striking in the way they operate.
Both are hard-nosed ballplayers who do anything to earn a win. Both rarely take a play off and are more apt to sacrifice their bodies than allow a blooper or a seeing-eye grounder to find a hole or space for a hit. And both are leaders offensively for their teams with Markins hitting lead-off for the Colonials and constantly setting the tone with his base-stealing ability and baseball acumen.
And while he is always dedicated in his pursuit for perfection on the field, the questions about his size which continually persist, fuels him to even higher levels.
"Everyone says you are too small and you can't do anything big and he's proven you can be small and do big things," Markins explained of his idol. "It drives me to work harder in the offseason and makes me want to prove it all over again every season."
However, baseball is in the Markins' family blood.
Markins has two brothers who suit up for Virginia State University's baseball team and both David Markins, a freshman catcher, and Joshua Markins, a junior third baseman, earned All-CIAA First Team honors after a season in which the Trojans finished as runner-ups. His family is the reason why Markins can remember playing baseball at a very early age.
And playing while young and being challenged by his brothers and family members in the process has led to Markins being a key cog for Colonial Heights this season where he has made a huge impact, especially on the mound.
With Noah Murdock unable to pitch for the first three weeks of the season, it was Markins taking the hill and he delivered in almost every start. The junior is not an overpowering type of pitcher, but he knows how to change speeds and locate well which leaves hitters off-balance.
It's why it's no surprise when Markins throws a complete-game like he did against New Kent to open the season. Last year's First Team All-District selection didn't have his best stuff on the afternoon, but was able to wiggle out of trouble with none bigger than a 3rd inning jam.
With the bases loaded and no one out, Markins forced the Trojans into two ground-ball outs before using a late-breaking curveball to get out of the inning unscathed. To Markins, it's all about pitching smartly.
"With not being a pitcher with high-velocity, you have to learn how to hit your spots," he explained. "I've been able to do it all season long. I've been hitting my spots on the outside corner and being crafty."
And he takes that same mentality to the plate in every at-bat.
As the lead-off hitter for Colonial Heights, Markins takes every plate appearance seriously while stepping into the box with a plan. He tries to work the count each time, hoping to foul pitches off so his teammates see what a pitcher has. Additionally, the shortstop likes to go the other way for most of his hits.
While Markins can pull the ball if it's on the inner part of the plate, he's more adept at going the other way because of his ability to track the ball through the zone and attack with his quick hands. It's a style which has been honed for years under his father's guidance and has helped jump-start the Colonials' offense.
Ryan Lazo/Hopewell News/News-Patriot
"I always try to work the pitcher for my teammates to see what he has on that day," Markins said of his game-plan. "And my favorite thing to do is to hit a little line-shot over the second baseman's head because I like to go the opposite-way. My dad is there all summer working on my swing."
But Markins also has another positive effect on the game when he reaches base. With eye-black dripping down his face and fingers twitching, he likes to torture opposing pitchers with his ability to swipe bags at will.
The junior is also adept at getting good reads off the bat of teammates in order to take the extra base whenever an opportunity presents itself. It's just another example of how Markins always gives 100 percent.
"I'm one of those hard-working players who gets the job done and never complains," Markins explained.
As Colonial Heights enters the final stretch of their season, the team will look to their lead-off hitter to continue getting the job done to help put the team in the win column as he's done over the past two seasons.