07/08/2011 7:16 PM
WAREHAM, Mass--Growing up, LJ Mazzilli (UCONN) wanted to be just like his father, Lee Mazzilli, a major league baseball player for several teams and managed the Baltimore Orioles from 2004-2005. At 20 years old, the young Mazzilli is already on his way to fulfilling this goal.
Mazzilli has already made a name for himself with the Connecticut Huskies. In the 2011 season, Mazzilli had a solid .338 average in 275 at bats. Bringing in 48 runs, 93 hits and 32 RBIs for the Huskies, Mazzilli was a standout player.
UCONN, known for their football and basketball teams, is starting to be recognized for the talent of their baseball program thanks to players like Mazzilli.
“The past couple years we’ve been putting a name for ourselves out nationally and we’re getting a little bit more attention so its like were all more proud to play for a team in the northeast, kinda (sic) like bringing baseball back,” Mazzilli said.
Coming back to play for the Gatemen’s 2011 team after a brilliant 2010 season, Mazzilli shared that what he liked most about playing for the Cape league was that “there’s really good competition and laid back fun baseball.”
Wareham wasn’t the only team aware of Mazzilli’s talent; just as the Gatemen season was about to start, Mazzilli got the call from Team USA.
“It was awesome,” said Mazzilli, who returned after the earlier-than-usual end to USA’s schedule. “It was a great opportunity to be able to play for my country and have fun while doing it.”
While on Team USA Mazzilli was still focused on his team back in Wareham.
“I definitely wanted to try to do that before the season started and then just have a good year and then I got called again which was exciting,” Mazzilli said.
After playing for Team USA, and happy to be back with Wareham, Mazzilli stepped up the plate by filling a leadership role among his other teammates.
“From playing last summer and learning a lot, I just try to remember what I went through last year and try to help them out,” Mazzilli said.
Hitting .250 with only 8 played games in the 2011 season, Mazzilli has racked in 5 RBIs, 8 hits, and 6 runs with 32 at bats.
Mazzilli is optimistic about how his Gatemen teammates are playing, and has a positive outlook for his teammates as they move towards the end of the season.
“We’ve been playing really well. It’s just that we have a lot of close games, but we just got to grind it out, and we’ll be fine if we keep playing the way we have been so far.”
Mazzilli acknowledges that he would not have gotten this far without his family. He credits them for his success out on the diamond, especially his parents, Lee and Dani. As his father served as his mentor on and off the field, his mother was there pushing him to continue playing.
“He was gone for a while while I was growing up, so my mom was always the one to be pushing me to do baseball and all the stuff. So she was a big influence with that, and then with my dad playing and everything and his experience, he always tried to lead me in the right direction.”
Mazzilli’s dream is to play for the New York Yankees, a shot away from where his father played at Shea Stadium for part of his career.