Pro baseball dreams carry Penn Hills catcher to Maine

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Saturday, November 21, 2020 | 11:01 AM


Penn Hills senior catcher Josh Zambito has dreams of playing baseball professionally. Zambito took a step towards that goal by deciding where he was going to play collegiate baseball.

After a tiring virtual recruitment process, Zambito signed his letter of intent Nov. 11 to play baseball at Maine.

Zambito, who has been playing baseball since he was 5, was mulling opportunities to play baseball at Erskine College, a NCAA Division II school in South Carolina, and Southwest Tennessee, a junior college.

The 6-foot-4, 240-pound senior announced his verbal commitment to Maine on July 17.

In the end, Zambito fell in love with the Maine coaching staff, and he believes they will get the best out of him on and off the field.

“The entire coaching staff was very engaged in the recruitment process,” Zambito said. “I really like them and their coaching style. I really like how the head coach is very hard-nosed and no-nonsense. That’s what I’m used to, and that’s what I think can help me be the best player that I can be.

“They play in a great conference. That conference has players drafted every single year. That’s my end goal of playing at the pro level.”

Due to the pandemic, Zambito turned his personal Twitter account into a recruitment tool for prospective colleges to see videos of him on the field or working out. Zambito sent coaches his videos and expressed interest in their college via direct message.

Maine was one of those schools as Zambito reached coach Nick Derba and his coaching staff.

Zambito, who also could play some corner infield, thinks Maine will be pleased to get a big bat in their lineup who is hard working with leadership qualities.

“A kid who knows how to lead the right way,” Zambito said. “I’m really a big believer in leading by your actions and putting your head down and working as hard as you can. I want to give positive energy to everyone around me. I want to help out in every way I can.”

Maine, which plays in the America East Conference, went 1-12 last season before the rest of its schedule was canceled because of the pandemic. In 2019, Maine went 15-34 overall with a 11-12 record in the America East.

Zambito, who played for the Pittsburgh Outlaws over the summer, will be looking to get back in the weight room and work on his overall speed after playing for the Penn Hills football team on their offensive and defensive lines this fall.

“I played in the trenches,” Zambito said. “You’ve got to learn how to work hard and to be there for your teammates. Football really teaches how to be there for your teammates.”

Zambito believes he can get some early playing time if he does what he knows he’s capable of once he steps on campus. However, Zambito is looking for his experience at Maine to be a launching pad for playing baseball professionally.

“I’m really excited about it,” Zambito said. “Being able to say I accomplished my goal is great, but playing college isn’t my main goal. My main goal is playing professional baseball. I got a lot of work left to do.”

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