Mike Marron admits that the two years he spent managing the Pittsfield Dukes of the NECBL were high points in his career. Taking a team to the playoffs and managing current St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams can make it a high point.
It doesn’t, however, compare to the journey Marron is taking this weekend. He is the pitching coach for Stony Brook, the America East Conference champion that earned a berth in the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.
"Based on the way we’re playing, I can’t say that I’m overly surprised," said Marron. "If you would have told me in the beginning of the year that we were going to Omaha, yeah, I’d say that we’d definitely be a little more on the surprised end more than anything."
The Seawolves shocked the college baseball world by taking two out of three from perennial powerhouse LSU in Baton Rouge, La., last weekend. Stony Brook got to the Super Regional by going 4-1 in the Coral Gables Regional -- hosted by another perennial power in Miami.
"I think we’re playing really well right now. I think our guys are playing together. They’re playing for each other," said Marron during a phone interview from his on-campus office on Long Island "They’re doing a tremendous job of being relentless and resilient."
Marron and the Seawolves will begin their College World Series run Friday against UCLA. The team left New York on Wednesday.
Marron joined Matt Senk’s staff in September 2009, after spending four years as an assistant coach at UMass-Lowell.
The former Dukes manager is Stony Brook’s pitching coach, and has guided the Seawolves pitchers to a 2.99 earned-run average this year, good for 12th in the nation. Opposing hitters are batting only .235.
Last year, Marron coached Nick Tropeano into being a fifth-round pick of the Houston Astros. Two more Stony Brook pitchers -- Jasvir Rakkar and Tyler Johnson -- were chosen in this month’s draft.
No team has won more games (52) of the eight in Omaha than Stony Brook has. The Seawolves’ pitching coach said that there wasn’t any point during the year when the light went on and Senk knew he had a really good team.
"We knew we had a talented team. We knew we had an experienced team. There was a lot of buzz around the team earlier in the year," Marron said. "There was some expectation level there early in the year. As the season progressed, we gained a lot of confidence.
"I don’t know if we looked at it in terms of an end result. We looked at in term of we’re going to try and keep playing as good baseball as we can for whatever we have in front of us."
Marron was the NECBL manager of the year in 2008 and led the Dukes to the playoffs. He also managed the team in 2007, and a number of former Dukes have jumped on the Stony Brook bandwagon.
"I’m hearing things from guys I have coached up there and they’re following this run that Stony Brook is on," he said, adding that the bandwagon still has plenty of room.