FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – From Elmhurst to Athens, baseball has taken Fort Wayne native Mike Marchesano across the world and on to the grandest stages. Going back to 2004, the Summit City pitcher recalls his time play in the Summer Olympic games, not for the United States, but for Italy.
“It’s just all I wanted to do for the longest time, (I) probably didn’t take the traditional path to the Olympics like a lot of people.” Marchesano said.
After Marchesano graduated from Elmhurst High School, the pitcher played three years of college baseball before he signed with an Independent League.
“It’s just a league of free agents basically. So anyone can sign with any team at any time during the season, before the season, after the season,” Marchesano said.
During his time with the Sioux City Explorers, he got the call of a lifetime.
“It was a call that changed my life, you know? Took me down a road I never thought I’d go down.” Marchesano said.
It was an area code that connected him to his heritage, the call was from Italy to go play overseas.
“Being that my father came over, from Italy to the States and learned English, made a living, raised a family. To be able to go back and represent Italy for him, he gave me that opportunity.” Marchesano said.
Italy qualified for the 2004 Summer Olympic games in Athens, Greece by winning the European Championships. Marchesano led the team in ERA (2.84) during the games but went 0-2 with loses to Cuba and Australia. Despite the result, it was an opportunity for he and his family to see all his hard work, pay off.
“Being a long road, I was in my 30’s at that point, (my parents) supported me all the years, them being there meant a lot.” Marchesano said.
As the time goes by, the baseball memories don’t go away, in fact new ones are still be created. at Parkview Field, the TinCaps asked Mark to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at their Olympics themed game night just last week .
“It was just really surreal at times at times. I went to my dad’s hometown and they had a little parade, I mean things like that, I couldn’t even imagine and they were happening every day.
An experience most athletes dream of, Marchesano lived.