Aug 14, 2013
NORWICH, Conn. – Two months ago, he was a senior batting third for UConn in a NCAA Regional upset over Virginia Tech.
Now, former Husky second baseman LJ Mazzilli has taken his talents to the professional level, where he is thriving. A fourth round pick of the New York Mets back in June, Mazzilli has become a fixture in the lineup of the Brooklyn Cyclones, the Mets’ Class-A Short Season squad.
With a .303 average and a New York Penn League-leading 61 hits in 51 games for Brooklyn, Mazzilli was named to the NL squad for the NYPL All Star Game. That game was last night at Dodd Memorial Stadium in Norwich, Conn., mere miles from where Mazzilli grew up in Greenwich. He entered the game in the bottom of the sixth, and reached base in his only at bat before scoring the NL’s third run.
The AL went on to win the game, 4-3, but it didn’t deter from Mazzilli’s experience. Below is a transcript from Mazzilli following the contest.
On the importance of his father (former Major Leaguer Lee Mazzilli) in his development:
“He’s helped me become the player I am today. The things he stresses are the things that I try to emulate in my game. That includes running the bases hard, grinding out every at-bat, and managing the game on the field to be one step ahead of your opponents. Those are things that have helped me get here. I try to play the game the right way.”
On his approach to the All Star Game:
“There’s always a chance that someone is watching so you want to do something special. I know anything can happen out there. I’m going to go out there and enjoy every moment that I can and play hard.”
On other UConn alum currently among the pro ranks:
“We’ve got a bunch of great guys that great talent. Now that they have the opportunity to put it together in pro ball, they’re all taking off. They’re all making strides and making names for themselves.”
On playing college baseball in the Northeast:
“It’s tough but you need to make the best of what you have. We hit indoors all preseason until our first game so that’s a thing that most people don’t’ even realize. It makes you more of a gritty player because you have to work for what you get. You have to play hard and play the right way because the facilities aren’t as good because of the weather. That’s what the northeast is all about.”
On contact with his UConn teammates and coaches:
“They text me all the time. They keep up with me and leave me messages often. I just talked to coach Penders yesterday and he wished me good luck here. It’s a little weird to think that our season just ended and now I’m in a whole different one.”
Brooklyn currently sits at 26-26 on the year, just a game back in the NYPL McNamara division. They begin their second half playoff push tonight, as Mazzilli looks to lead his second team to the postseason in the past few months.