Spartans’ newcomer Passarella battling injury as huge potential waits to be unveiled

Right-hander from New York shows great promise

Newcomer Alex Passarella is looking forward to making his mark at the University of Tampa. Dannika Russell/Toronto Observer

TAMPA, Fla.  – When Alex Passarella came to Florida he brought his heat with him.

He’s hoping to unveil it full time sooner rather than later.

“We got him in the fall with low expectations and [then] he starts topping out at 96 miles per hour,” Coach Joe Urso said. “So the scouts start raving about him too.”

Unfortunately, a shoulder injury popped up in the new year.

“He’s going to get an MRI, and hopefully it’s minor and we can get him back on the field here soon,” the coach said.

Tapped as the team’s possible closer, the young pitcher has only played two games this season because of the shoulder.

After a year of pitching at the New York Institute of Technology, the right-hander transferred last fall to the University of Tampa, which has a more structured baseball program.

“Where I was my freshman year of college (at NYIT), I was there for education,” Passarella said. “I wasn’t there for baseball.”

The 20-year-old from Howard Beach, N.Y., has found Tampa’s program more satisfying.

“By far one of the most remarkable baseball experiences by far,” he said.

Being the new guy this year, he was nervous joining a new team.

“When I first got here I was an underdog,” Passarella said, standing in the hot sun at the team’s practice facility. “It was definitely more difficult the first few weeks.

“I just tried to keep my head down, put as much work as I can in, in the workout room and the results were dramatic.”

He started off throwing 90-92 mph, but with the last few months of training he’s upped his game to a 96 mph pitch.

Passarella was determined to stay and his teammates were very welcoming in accepting him.

“Everyone’s just extremely nice,” he said. “The coaches by far are the best I ever had, they care so much about us.”

He is optimistic that the Spartans will keep moving up in the standings and make it to first place.

“I think if we just put all the pieces together and just focus on the team as a whole and not individuals … all the pieces will come together and we will make it far,” Passarella said.

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Posted: Mar 8 2019 8:21 pm
Filed under: Baseball Sports