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 he’s enjoying his college playing experience.
“College baseball, in all, has been a good experience so far,” Markley said. “It’s a grind to get through the long season, but looking back and seeing how far I’ve come from the beginning of the year gives me high hopes for next season.”
Markley joined the Millionaires this summer after spending last summer playing for the Hickory Post 48 American Legion baseball team.
Canada wasn’t the first place Markley had his eyes on.
“I had an offer to play up in New York for the NYCBL (New York Collegiate Baseball League),” Markley said. “When 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.”
While he’s miles away from his native home and college, Markley isn’t alone. Teammate Brandon Christ joined Markley as a member of the Millionaires.
“We are good friends back at school, so having him here has made things a lot easier on me,” Markley said. “He 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.”
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.
“My 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,” Markley said. “I really think I’ve made progress in these areas, and hopefully it shows this year.”
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 Markley’s games on the Millionaire’s website at www.millionairesbaseball.com .