By Jack McLoone
Mark Donadio has been a stalwart in the outfield – primarily left – for Fordham Baseball ever since his freshman year. He has appeared in 181 out of a possible 202 games, with a month’s worth of games still remaining. He was named to the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie team his freshman year and second team All-Atlantic 10 last season as a junior. As a junior, he led Fordham in both batting average and on-base percentage. His current .299 batting average puts him in second on the team, while his .373 on-base percentage leads it once again.
Donadio sat down with The Fordham Ram to discuss his career.
The Fordham Ram: I was looking at your biography on Fordhamsports.com and it said you were a three-sport athlete, and it looked like you had a pretty good football career. So, what made you choose baseball over football?
Mark Donadio: I never really had the size coming out of high school. I was just a really good high school player but I didn’t see myself projecting in college. I just loved the game of baseball a lot more than football and really had a lot of passion towards it. I figured I’d have a better career playing baseball instead of football.
TFR: What was your recruitment process like?
MD: Well, the coaches come see you play at our high school games. Then you do some showcases where you show your skills, like you throw from the outfield, take BP [batting practice]. And then from there they’ll send you some emails to invite you to the campus and take a visit. And then they just follow you for a couple of years and then they made me an offer and I chose Fordham.
TFR: What about Fordham stuck out to you?
MD: I fell in love with the coaching staff. The campus is really beautiful. And it’s a great education, so I figured it’d be the best option for me.
TFR: You came up right away as a freshman [Donadio appeared in 47 games as a freshman, starting 37]. What was it like having a big role on the team right away?
MD: It took a lot. I had to make some adjustments right away. The game is played a lot faster than high school. The kids had a lot more talent. They throw a lot harder. But I just trusted myself and had a lot of confidence coming in. I just was able to play right away and enjoy my freshman year a lot.
TFR: A team graduated a lot of leadership last year. Have you stepped into a larger role as a leader?
MD: Yeah. We have a pretty good senior class right now and we all figured we had to step up in order to play well this season. So, yeah, I took a leadership role kind of right away and we’re doing pretty well this season so far.
TFR: How would you describe your leadership style?
MD: I’m more of a lead-by-example kind of guy. I always do the right thing on and off the field and a lot of the younger guys follow me every step of the way.
TFR: Looking at your numbers this season, you have a lot higher slugging percentage [his .410 slugging percentage this season is well above his .359 career percentage] and you have more doubles in a season then you’ve ever had already [he has eight doubles, besting his previous career-high of seven last season] with a few games left to go. Are you doing something different at all?
MD: Not really something different. It just happens. It’s just hitting more balls in the gap and down the line. Maybe I got a little faster so I can leg out some doubles.
TFR: As a senior, this is obviously your last shot to make a run at the A-10 Tournament. You guys are currently in seventh [the top seven A-10 teams make the tournament]. So how do you feel going into your final month?
MD: We got off to a little bit of a slow start and then we picked it up. I think we’re going to wind up doing some big things this year. We have a lot of seniors, and we’re just looking forward to make the playoffs again. I think we can go on a good run at the end.
TFR: What are your post-Fordham plans? Does baseball figure into them at all?
MD: If baseball doesn’t work out – hopefully I get drafted – but if that doesn’t work out I’m just going to try and find a job. I’m a finance major, so hopefully I can use my connections and try and get a job there.
TFR: Have you been hearing anything back from scouts? Has anyone been coming to games that makes you think you have a shot?
MD: Yeah, I talked to a bunch of guys in the beginning of the season. But it’s a long process. You never really know. It’s the kind of thing where you don’t really know until the day of the draft. Hopefully I get a call.
TFR: What is your favorite Fordham memory?
MD: Probably making the playoffs last year and we had a crazy game against St. Louis. We were down and then we came back. We were all going crazy in the dugout. It was a pretty exciting moment.
TFR: Was that the game Lundy had the triple? [It was. Then-junior Jason Lundy had a three-RBI triple in the top of the eighth inning to give Fordham a 7-5 lead. They went on to win the first-round game 9-7]
MD: Yeah. We were all going crazy, jumping up and down at home plate [laughs].