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Flying solo: His brother’s not around, but Nighthawks’ infielder Marcano finds a way to shine

  • David Marcano, of Katy, Texas, left, helps his teammates set up the batting cage during the Nighthawks' first practice in White River Junction, Vt., on June 3, 2019. (Valley News - Joseph Ressler) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • New Jersey Institute of Technology junior David Marcano, photographed at a Nighthawks practice on June 3, 2019, is playing apart from his identical twin brother for the first time in his life. "We went to college together, we room together. This is probably the most time we’ve been separated," he said. (Valley News - Joseph Ressler) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 7/27/2019 9:52:56 PM
Modified: 7/27/2019 9:52:54 PM

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — For the first time in his life, David Marcano is playing baseball without his identical twin brother, Julio, on the same field. It’s changed the summer experience, sure, but it hasn’t made him any less critical to the Upper Valley Nighthawks’ lineup. Not since he started heating up.

Marcano, a Katy, Texas native who is entering his junior year at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, has made himself an invaluable piece of the Upper Valley infield — playing most of his games over the last few weeks at third base.

He entered the weekend on an 11-game hitting streak, and is second on the team behind an otherworldly performance from Upper Valley infielder Cole Frederick, from Jacksonville (Ala.) State. He’s also second on the team, behind the now-departed Gehrig Anglin from Wright State, with 11 stolen bases on an Upper Valley squad that is second in the New England Collegiate Baseball in that category.

Not bad for a guy who struggled to find playing time at the beginning of the season in early June, playing apart from his twin brother for the first time ever. Julio Marcano also plays baseball at NJIT has been in-and-out of the Cape Cod League due to injuries; Juilo now plays with the Cape’s Orleans Firebirds and is batting .417 with five hits, three RBIs and a home run in five games.

“This is actually, believe it or not, the first time we’ve ever played apart ever,” Marcano said during batting practice before Thursday’s game against the Vermont Mountaineers. “We went to college together, we room together. This is probably the most time we’ve been separated.

“It’s very different. We always practice with each other, we always throw BP to each other. I don’t have that up here.”

Marcano, who played in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League last summer, is not exactly the flashy offensive power that would stick out on a roster. But his consistency has helped put the Nighthawks in the playoff race they find themselves in, with less than a half-dozen games remaining in the regular season.

He kicked off a seven-run rally against Winnipesaukee Muskrats on Wednesday, an eventual 11-6 win, and was 2-for-2 with a run scored, two doubles and two walks in Upper Valley’s Governor’s Cup-clinching game over Vermont two weeks ago.

“We are a good team, this is probably the best team I’ve ever played on,” Marcano said. “The energy. When we’re on, we’re on.

“The summer has been awesome. I love this group, it’s always fun being on the field with them. I’m having a really good time playing baseball.”

Without him, said Upper Valley head coach Keller Bradford, the team isn’t where it is today: fighting off the Mountaineers and Valley Blue Sox for the third and final playoff spot.

“One of the best things about infielders, catchers, even outfielders at times, is some of the best guys are the guys you never really notice,” Bradford said on Thursday. “They’re always doing their jobs, always making the routine plays. They may not make the diving plays or the spectacular plays, but when the ball is hit to them they’re going to catch it and throw and make a good play.

“(Marcano) is one of those guys. You don’t even notice him over there because he’s so consistent.”

Marcano is batting .300 this summer with 39 hits in 130 at-bats. He’s scored 20 runs, has 11 RBIs and five doubles in 35 games for the Nighthawks, appearing in all but two games for the club this season. The experience, Marcano said, has taught him a lot.

“I want to be a better hitter,” Marcano said. “I think this season I’ve learned a lot.”

Added Bradford: “You know, we moved him down a few spots in the order. It’s not because he wasn’t swinging the bat well, it was to put him in a position where he’d be up with runners on base. That’s exactly what’s happened, fortunately. He’s up either seventh or eighth and the 5-6-7 guys are getting on base in front of him, and he’s got a chance to score some runs.”

Bradford and the Nighthawks coaching staff like Marcano playing third, despite a few tough bounces that haven’t gone his way this summer. He’s certainly made up for it with his steady play, and his recent offensive surge at the plate.

“I think that’s his natural position,” Bradford said. “We had him at second earlier in the year, he had some tough luck over there and didn’t look as comfortable. Put him over that third he looks really, really comfortable over there. He does a really good job. He seems to be always in the right place at the right time.”

It also helps, he said, to be part of an offense that seems to score in bunches. The addition of his brother would have meant even more trouble for NECBL pitchers.

“Honestly, if he was here, we would both be doing better,” Marcano said. “Every day we’d be throwing to each other, practicing every day. … It’s awesome. It definitely (got me out of my comfort zone, not having him around), but it’s all an adjustment. It’s all making me better.”

Josh Weinreb can be reached at jweinreb@vnews.com or 603-727-3306.




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