KSU softball player impresses as freshman

Freshman outfielder Alex Marcantonio chose the Kent State softball team to stay closer to her family. Photo by Matt Hafley.

Freshman outfielder Alex Marcantonio chose the Kent State softball team to stay closer to her family. Photo by Matt Hafley.

Brad Tansey

Teams like Ohio State, Purdue and Kentucky recruited Alex Marcantonio. Instead of going to a bigger school, she chose to go to Kent State to be closer to home.

Marcantonio, a North Canton native and freshman on the Kent State softball team, didn’t want to leave her family, which is the driving force behind her early success on the field.

“Having (family) here makes softball much easier to gradually accelerate into,” Marcantonio said.

Her older sister Ashley Marcantonio played softball, and that’s where Alex got her competitive drive. For years, Alex modeled herself after her sister.

Alex’s twin sister, Ada, has been supportive of Alex her entire life.

“Even on the bad days, she’ll tell me how great of a softball player I am or how beautiful I am, sometimes,” Alex said.

Alex’s younger brother Philip models her. She said she doesn’t want to let him down and tries to set an example for him every day.

In the beginning of the school year, Alex struggled adjusting to college while trying to manage softball as well.

In a fall game, Alex remembered shaking from being nervous.

As a result of the difficult times, Alex turned to her family. In the fall semester, she went home every weekend.

“I would just go home and basically cry and vent to them,” Alex said. “(My family) would tell me just to push everything.”

The ability to go home every weekend helped Alex persevere through tough times.

Karen Linder, Kent State head coach, said she admires someone who has a family-oriented mentality.

“To me, that’s something that was preached to me from my parents is that family comes first,” Linder said.

Going into the regular season, Alex was well-prepared because of the close relationship with her family. She was surprised at how easy the transition was from the fall semester into the spring, which is when the team started traveling more.

During home games this season, Alex said she will be much more relaxed knowing her family is there supporting her.

“The sight of my dad and sister, and all of them being there helps me,” Alex said.

Despite the assurance in her mind because of her family, Alex said her biggest problem adjusting from high school to college was the strike zone. Although she said the strike zone is more inconsistent in college, Linder believes Alex has “good bat discipline.”

Alex is fourth on the team with a .370 batting average in 25 starts — the most of any freshman on the team. As the only freshman to start every game this season, she has been playing all over the field. She’s played outfield, shortstop and first base.

When projected starting left fielder Holly Finchum was injured in a car accident and was forced to miss some time, Alex filled the void in left field — a position she’s never played.

Linder said playing three positions as a freshman is unusual.

“Alex has the ability that she could probably play any position on the field,” Linder said.

Alex wanted to take advantage of every opportunity she was given because she felt she had to prove herself as a freshman.

Despite the success, she doesn’t get caught up in the statistics. She’s focused on winning and of course, on her family.

Contact Brad Tansey at [email protected].