Plum’s Marra signs on to pitch at UNC Ashville
Friday, November 16, 2018 | 9:27 PM
Gino Marra has some unfinished business to tend to with the Plum baseball team, but the Mustangs left-handed pitcher also has his long-term diamond plans set.
The senior will play for Division I North Carolina-Asheville, and he made his decision final Nov. 14, the first day of the national letter of intent early-signing period for baseball and several other sports.
“They really wanted me, so I am humbled and excited for that,” said Marra, rated as a top-15 lefty in Pennsylvania by Prep Baseball Report. I’m looking forward to going down early in the summer to work out and get a strong bond going with my teammates.”
Marra and UNC Ashville connected during Marra’s participation in a national Perfect Game tournament in Georgia. The Bulldogs coaches took notice of a fastball that routinely surpassed 85 miles per hour.
This past spring, Marra made an impact on the mound for Plum, and he showed his pitching prowess by allowing just two hits and no earned runs in a 2-1 loss to Canon-McMillan in the WPIAL Class 6A quarterfinals.
Marra celebrated the signing-day opportunity with fellow Plum seniors Justin Decheck (swimming, Division II Gannon), Devan Taylor (swimming, Division I James Madison), Evan Sante (baseball, Division III Washington & Jefferson) and Samantha Casile (lacrosse, Division III Washington & Jefferson).
Taylor gave a verbal commitment to swim at James Madison in September, and making it official, she said, added to the excitement.
“This makes it very real,” said Taylor, a school record holder in the 100-yard breaststroke, the 200 individual medley and the 200 medley relay. The coach texted me (the morning of the signing) and was so excited I was officially a Duke.”
Taylor and the rest of the Plum swim teams kicked off official preseason practices Friday in preparation for the season opener against Penn-Trafford on Dec 10.
Decheck said he’s hoping to be a well-rounded competitor in at least four events — the 100 freestyle, the 100 backstroke, the 200 IM and the 200 butterfly — at Gannon.
“I swim a lot of events now at Plum. I’m not a one-event type person,” he said. “I want to be able to continue that in college, and Gannon is a place that will let me do that.”
Decheck is a member of Plum’s record-setting boys 200 medley relay. He has qualified for WPIALs in every individual event on two separate occasions.
“I want to coach when I’m older, so the best way to coach is to be just as good in every stroke,” Decheck said.
Casile was a freshman on the first Plum girls lacrosse team to be recognized as a full member of the WPIAL in 2016. A team captain and all-section player, Casile helped guide the Mustangs to their first WPIAL playoff appearance last spring.
“It’s a pretty well-developed program, and it’s pretty exciting to be able to go there and hopefully help the team maintain its success,” Casile said of W&J.
Evan Sante, an outfielder with the Mustangs baseball team, hopes to join Marra in leading Plum back to the playoffs this spring.
“(Signing) is a great feeling and a relief because it is something I’ve been working towards for many years,” Sante said. “At this point, I’ve found a great match both academically and athletically.”
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at [email protected] or via Twitter @MLove_Trib.