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Gov. Mifflin graduate Connor Maryniak wins college baseball Division III Player of the Year award

It’s been a good year for the Gov. Mifflin baseball program; both for its current squad and its alumni.

In June, the Mustangs won their first PIAA title with a 2-1 win over Hollidaysburg behind clutch hitting and a dominant performance from the team’s two best pitchers, Ethan Grim and Bryce Detwiler.

And on Monday, 2021 Gov. Mifflin graduate and former Berks Player of the Year Connor Maryniak was named the American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings D-III National Player of the Year for his exceptional junior season at Misericordia.

He was one of just nine players across all divisions of amateur baseball to be selected for the award, and also earned MAC Freedom Player of the Year, MAC Tournament Most Outstanding Player and MAC Freedom Pitcher of the Week honors earlier in the season.

“At the end of the day, I just tried to do whatever I could on my part, both pitching and hitting, to help our guys get back to the World Series,” Maryniak said. “And this award means the world to me. It was definitely special. I’ll never forget finding out on Twitter and it was a cool phone call with my dad. All the hard work that me and him put in in the offseason, and all the hard work me and coach (Pete) Egbert put in this season, it just all came to fruition.”

Misericordia pitcher Connor Maryniak, a Governor Mifflin graduate, was named the Middle Athletic Conference Freedom Division pitcher of the week after winning two games last week. (COURTESY OF MISERICORDIA UNIVERSITY)
Misericordia pitcher Connor Maryniak, a Gov. Mifflin graduate, was named the NCAA Division III Player of the Year this week.  (COURTESY OF MISERICORDIA UNIVERSITY)

Maryniak helped lead the Cougars to the school’s first national title, as the righty earned a win in the decisive game three of the Division III College World Series against Wisconsin-Whitewater. Misericordia defeated the Warhawks 10-5 to claim the championship. Maryniak allowed 11 hits, two walks, five runs (four earned) over 7 1/3  innings.

He also struck out two batters and went 1-for-4 at the plate with a run scored. In a strong first inning, Maryniak struck out two in the top half before the offense behind him established a commanding lead that would prove insurmountable.

“I’m no stranger pitching in big games,” Maryniak said. “I’ve been doing it for a while now, but that was probably the biggest game that I’ve ever pitched.

“After that loss in game two, I knew that I had to kind of be the spark plug for us. We didn’t really know how game three was gonna go. The boys were kind of down a little bit after losing game two, so I knew coming out first on the mound as the home team I had to set the tone.

“Getting those two strikeouts in the first really set the tone and fired all the guys up, then we end up putting a seven spot (7-0 lead) up, which absolutely sealed the deal. That was a big statement opening game three.”

On the season, Maryniak tied the school record by starting all 55 games, including 42 at shortstop, while setting school single-season records with 70 RBIs and 130 total bases.

He also tied the school record with 13 homers and was fourth on the team in batting (.345), while leading the team with a .631 slugging percentage.

With hitting strength that continuously paid dividends, Maryniak had a team-high five triples, led the Cougars with 19-multi RBI games, was second on the team in doubles (10) and had 20 multi-hit games, as Misericordia finished with a 44-11 record.

A dual threat, on the mound, his 11 wins in 13 starts were the second-most in school history and his 76 strikeouts were the third most by any Cougar. He finished the season with three losses over 15 appearances, had a 2.44 ERA, gave up 84 hits, 35 runs (23 earned), 19 walks and allowed just one home run.

“It’s just something that I’ve kind of been accustomed to; Coach (Chris) Hole at (Gov.) Mifflin had me pitching and hitting so I’ve been used to it my entire life almost,” Maryniak said. “It was kind of second nature to me when I got to college and Coach Egbert threw me in that situation early as a freshman so it got me accustomed to playing in big games early.

“And my hitting took a big leap from last year to this year. I made a few small adjustments with Coach Egbert that really clicked for me and ended up helping me put up the numbers that I did this past year.”

Maryniak was voted Berks Player of the Year in 2021 alongside Gov. Mifflin coach Chris Hole after Gov. Mifflin won the Berks League title. Through the Berks playoffs that year, he was 11-0 with a 1.10 ERA, 114 strikeouts and nine walks in 70 innings, and was the winning pitcher in the Mustangs’ 5-4 victory over Wilson in the Berks championship game.

That same year, the Mustangs ultimately fell to the Bulldogs 11-0 in the District 3 Class 6A championship before bowing out in the first round of the PIAA playoffs. Heading into the 2021 District 3 playoffs, Maryniak was batting .386 with seven doubles, four home runs, 26 RBIs, nine stolen bases and 20 runs.

Having maintained a close connection with his hometown roots, including attending Gov. Mifflin’s 7-2 PIAA Class 5A semifinal win over Selinsgrove at Hershey, Maryniak has been overjoyed by the unprecedented success both his college and high school teams have experienced this spring.

“I’m close with Bryce Detwiler, Ethan Grim and (catcher) Travis Jenkins,” Maryniak said. “I work out with Travis Jenkins in the winter at Evolution Baseball (facility in Wyomissing). Me and Coach Hole will talk on on a weekly basis, he’s one of the closest coaches that I’ve kept in contact with. I’m so happy for them and all the guys on that staff that put the time in day in and day out with that group of guys. They have a special group, they’re all studs and I’m glad they got the job done.”

One of Maryniak’s Wilson rivals from his high school years, longtime friend Gabe Bunn is now a teammate at Misericordia and the two juniors have remained close since becoming freshmen in 2022. Together, the two Berks County grads helped bring home the first Division III baseball championship in Pennsylvania history.

Bunn went 4-for-4 with three runs scored, three RBIs and a double in the series clinching victory. His three-run double in the first inning gave the Cougars a 5-0 lead that would become 7-0 and provide Maryniak a large-enough cushion to work with on the mound.

Over the course of the three-game series, Bunn was 6-for-12 with eight RBIs and was named to the all-tournament team along with Maryniak.

Freshman Rafael Fernandez, another Wilson graduate, is also on the team.

“I’ve known him (Bunn) since we were probably 10 or 12 years old,” Maryniak said. “We’ve been friends outside of baseball and he’s always been one of my closest friends so to do it with him was special. Coming up through, I had known him for so long. Our families are really close and we would always go over to each others houses since we were little. It was a great experience.”

With a promising future backed by consistent success, Maryniak is hopeful that his performance playing for the Cougars will lead to even more good things to come, as he is currently in the transfer portal heading into his senior year.

“I’m currently in the transfer portal right now and trying to feel out my options at the D1 level and hopefully have a good year at the highest level and then hopefully get a look at going pro,” Maryniak said.

Source: Berkshire mont

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