Senior Spotlight: Serra Catholic senior Mark Black was hoping for final run with teammates

Friday, April 24, 2020 | 4:12 PM

Most WPIAL pitchers are probably disappointed they won’t have an opportunity to play baseball this spring.

But, in hindsight, those same pitchers are probably a little relieved they won’t have to see Serra Catholic’s Mark Black step into the batter’s box.

As a junior last season, the St. John’s recruit was a force to be reckoned with while leading his team to runner-up finishes in the WPIAL and PIAA tournaments.

Black, who has a chance to be selected during the MLB first-year player draft later this spring, led the WPIAL with 14 home runs and produced a .507 batting average while driving in 44 runs.

“It was definitely eye-opening for us last year,” the Serra catcher said. “We proved to ourselves that we could obviously go out there and do it. It was just a matter of going out there and doing it.”

While last year was a special run, the Eagles were hoping to follow-up that performance this year and possibly take it one step further, in hopes of capturing a WPIAL or state title. Black was disappointed he didn’t get one more chance to take the field with his teammates.

“Honestly, I was a little more upset that I don’t even get a season at all,” Black said. “I really want to play one last time with the guys that I’ve known since freshman year.”

Now, the high school All-American from a year ago is taking the process day by day during Pennsylvania’s stay-at-home order. Just like most athletes, he’s waking up, getting his school work done, and then spending time in a batting cage or lifting weights in order to stay in shape.

“The first few weeks I had a net and tee I had set up in my backyard, so I was able to hit on that,” Black said. “Then, I have weights in my house, so I’ve been able to get lifting in, as well. Then, the coach for my travel team opened up our field so you can rent it out one person at a time so they can hit.”

What’s your best memory from playing baseball for Serra Catholic?

It was probably the playoff run last year. It was definitely a cool one.

What’s your favorite sports moment as a fan?

I’m not really a die-hard fan of anyone. So, any kind of memorable moment is cool to me. Like a big walk-off home run and stuff like. All of that stuff is really cool to me.

What have you been doing while you’re stuck at home?

For the most part, I’ll wake up, get something to eat and do my school work until around noon or 1 p.m. If I’m hungry again I’ll grab some lunch then I’ll usually head down to the field or the backyard and get all my workouts in. It’s pretty basic.

Have you picked up any new hobbies during the down time?

Not really.

What’s the better feeling, throwing a runner out or hitting a home run?

Hitting a home run.

What stuck out about St. John’s to you?

They recruited me pretty early and showed a lot of interest, so it made me feel like I was wanted which was pretty nice. Then, they are kind of a blue-collar, northeast program which I really like. I really liked the coaching staff when I met them too.

What will be your major?

I was thinking about majoring in physics. I really liked it when I took it in high school these past few years.

Is there a possibility you choose professional baseball if drafted?

The draft is definitely a possibility, but they’ve changed the format so it’s between five and 10 rounds. None of that is final yet but there’s a chance I get drafted. There’s just a lot of factors that are still in play.

If you could face any pitcher, who would it be?

I don’t really know if I have a set answer for that one. I just love to compete. It doesn’t matter who it is, I’d love competing against them.

If you could choose anyone to give a commencement speech at your graduation, who would it be?

It would definitely have to be a person that I look up to as a person, and the coach for my travel team, Dan Ninemire, has been a huge role model in my life, so I’d probably go with him.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at or via Twitter .


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