Mauro faces adversity
by Matthew Ondesko: Managing Editor
Photos: Niagara University Athletics
Sometimes a player has to face a little adversity to make themselves batter.
Niagara University baseball player Vincent Mauro stepped on the campus at NU last year fresh off a great career at Canisius High School, and earned the starting third base job as a freshman.
The story book ending, however, didn’t happen as Mauro struggled throughout his freshman campaign. Struggling as a freshman could have killed the confidence for Mauro, who has excelled everywhere he has stepped on the diamond.
But, a little adversity, actually made Mauro want it more. He was able to take the struggles he had over the spring, and made the adjustments over the summer that he needed to make as fall ball was fast approaching.
“Being able to play as a freshman was great. In the fall I came in and earned the starting third baseman job but unfortunately I didn’t play as well as I wanted to in the spring,” stated Mauro. “I believe me being put into that position where I had to face some adversity made me a better player. That adversity led into the offseason leading into this spring where I was able to work on different stuff that needed to be improved and I’d like to think I was doing the right stuff.”
Everything Mauro worked on during the offseason wouldn’t mean anything if he didn’t have the confidence to use it in the games. When baseball players struggle, the first thing that usually goes is their confidence.
If a player lacks confidence at the plate, they can actually take their struggles to field as well. Heading into his sophomore season, Mauro found the confidence, the same confidence he had at Canisius High School.
“I believe my biggest improvement this year was my confidence,” stated Mauro. “Ninety-five percent of hitting is mental, and if you don’t believe in yourself that you’re capable of going up there and hitting a ball hard you’re going to get out.”
Mauro turned in a great sophomore season as he raked at the plate setting a career high in home runs with nine, while driving in 46 runs. It was a great turnaround from his freshman season, and something that he was going to build on during the summer.
This summer, Mauro wanted to keep his momentum going, so he decided to play for the Niagara Power. The Power gave him a chance to continue to work on the things that made him successful during his sophomore season. It also allowed him to go back to the wooden bats that he played with for four years in high school.
“Using wood has been fun especially after using metal all year. There’s some differences with metal and wood, obviously metal being a bit more generous on your misses but other than that you’ve still got to get the barrel to ball,” stated Mauro. “I wouldn’t say there is a big adjustment, I keep everything the same. Like I said before, metal is obviously a lot more generous on your misses. This summer I’m just excited to play with my friends and have fun. I’m working on some different stuff but the biggest thing is being able to live at home, work, and be able to play baseball at night.”
The biggest thing Mauro excelled at this season has been runners in scoring position. It could be a lot of pressure on a hitter to make sure he came through in the clutch every single time. For Mauro, the pressure was never on him, he always tried to tell himself the pressure was on the pitcher.
After all, the pitcher is the one that needs to make the right pitch at the right time. If he is off just a little, Mauro was going to make him pay.
“I always try to tell myself the pressure is on the pitcher in situations with runners in scoring position. He’s gotta still give me a good pitch to hit and from there I try not to do too much,” stated Mauro. “You’ve gotta tell yourself the pressure is on the pitcher to give you a pitch to hit. I’ve been in those situations too many times now so I’ll never try to make one situation more important than another. They’re all the same, some just might have more of an impact on the game.”
Mauro has grown up around the game his entire life. He always wanted to take ground balls, and step in the cages, since he was a kid. The game is something that he always wanted to be around.
His dad has been a big part of the success that Mauro has enjoyed. He has always been there to give him a helping hand, whether is be through coaching, or words of advice.
“Yeah I’ve grown up on baseball, I’ve loved it my whole life. I always wanted to go hit or take ground balls with my dad because I knew he’d never say no. He obviously wanted to go just as much as I did because his love for the game is just as strong,” stated Mauro. “My dad has been my coach wether literally or figuratively my whole life. I’m always learning more from him even now in college. The biggest takeaway from what my dad has taught me is there are two things you can control and that’s your energy and effort. If you have that mindset heading into a game, at the end of the day you can sit there and say you gave it your all.”