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A former multi-sport athlete at Maiden High School is focusing on baseball and playing in Canada this summer.
John Markley, a former Blue Devil and current Winston-Salem State baseball player, is playing for the Melville Millionaires in the Western Major Baseball League (WMBL).
Markley has been successful in college playing for Winston-Salem State University in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic League. Markley had a 4-2 record on the mound with a 2.74 ERA in his sophomore season.
He had 42 strikeouts in 46 innings with batters having a .225 average against him.
Markley appeared in a CIAA-high 17 games, including 13 in relief and three complete games. His two saves last year tied him for second-best in the conference.
He said heâ€™s enjoying his college playing experience.
â€śCollege baseball, in all, has been a good experience so far,â€ť Markley said. â€śItâ€™s a grind to get through the long season, but looking back and seeing how far Iâ€™ve come from the beginning of the year gives me high hopes for next season.â€ť
Markley joined the Millionaires this summer after spending last summer playing for the Hickory Post 48 American Legion baseball team.
Canada wasnâ€™t the first place Markley had his eyes on.
â€śI had an offer to play up in New York for the NYCBL (New York Collegiate Baseball League),â€ť Markley said. â€śWhen that fell through, I was looking for a place to play, and Canada kind of just fell in my lap. After talking about it with my parents, we decided it would be a good experience to spend a summer in a foreign country doing something I love.â€ť
While heâ€™s miles away from his native home and college, Markley isnâ€™t alone. Teammate Brandon Christ joined Markley as a member of the Millionaires.
â€śWe are good friends back at school, so having him here has made things a lot easier on me,â€ť Markley said. â€śHe lives with the same host family, and we both have the same workout schedule because of school ball. We see a lot of each other. The best thing about having Brandon here is that we know each other as pitchers, so we can help each other fix any problems that arise.â€ť
In seven games with the Millionaires, Markley has a 1-2 record with a 4.14 ERA, 22 strikeouts, 23 walks and 37 hits.
Markley hopes his work this summer will allow him to take his pitching game to the next level.
â€śMy coach and I talked and decided that I really needed to work on commanding my pitches within the strike zone and developing a change-up in order to move from closer to a starting pitcher,â€ť Markley said. â€śI really think Iâ€™ve made progress in these areas, and hopefully it shows this year.â€ť
The Millionaires are in second place in the East Division of the 11-team WMBL with a record of 25-17, four games behind the Regina Red Sox.
Catch Markleyâ€™s games on the Millionaireâ€™s website at www.millionairesbaseball.com.