CORNWELLS HEIGHTS – When choosing a college, scholastic athletes have many things to consider. Everything from academics, campus location and appeal, state of athletic program, facilities – it all comes into play.
Holy Ghost Prep (HGP) senior Mark Seibert had a few more things to consider including length – as in years – of the academic program and input from his brother Jack who is already a member of the Gettysburg baseball program to which he has committed.
In the end, the Bullets had everything the Firebird was looking for.
“They have a good program for my major and as for baseball, it’s a school where I think I can really compete for a spot.”
When spring rolls around, big brother Jack will compete with classmate Tyler Sadowski for the spot vacated by Will Anderson, who batted .319 with an on-base percentage of .459 for Gettysburg in his final season. Meanwhile, Mark will try to improve upon a junior campaign at Ghost that saw the catcher/infielder hit .385 with a .491 on-base percentage.
Mark says Jack’s presence on Lincoln Highway had a little to do with his collegiate landing spot.
“I wouldn’t say my brother being there played a big part,” said Mark. “With him going there, I know all the school aspects and all the social aspects – where everything ranks.
“I know all the good places to eat around campus – which is a big benefit.
“And I’ve met Coach (John) Campo many times so talking to him was pretty easy.”
Seibert also considered Stevens Institute of Technology, Franklin & Marshall and Dickinson but ultimately, chose the Bullets because he believes he has the best chance to play for the Centennial Conference rival.
Add to that an academic program that was more suitable and Gettysburg became Mark’s best option.
“Gettsyburg has a better program for what I want to do, as far as my major goes.
“They have a four-plus-two engineering program and the other schools are three-plus-two.
When Mark gets to the next level, he’ll spend four years getting a B.S. at Gettysburg and two more at an affiliate school where he will earn an engineering degree.
“The other schools would have been really difficult because I would have had to take four years of credits in three years.
“This gives me a little more time.”
More time for baseball, and more time to hone his skills on the diamond at the college level. After all, in addition to his desire to pursue a degree in chemical engineering, Seibert is also a student of the game.
Two years ago as a sophomore, he hit just .182 at Holy Ghost. In 53 plate appearances (39 at-bats) last season as a high school junior, Seibert stroked 10 singles, a pair of doubles, and three triples while pushing a dozen runs across the plate.
In Carpenter Cup play, Seibert stroked a single, a double, drew a walk and pushed a run across in just four plate appearances.
In Lower Bucks American Legion League (LBALL) play, Mark really started to pound the ball. On the season, he hit .349 with a 442 OBP. He led the Yardley Morrisville Post 317 Riversharks to a three wins and the final round of the LBALL playoffs, hitting .522 with a .621 OBP in the process. In 23 at bats he counted 10 singles, two doubles, four walks and four RBI.
Mark attributes the improvement to a change in his mental approach to batting.
“For me, it was all about realizing what I was good at. I didn’t need to hit a ball 400 feet every time I was up (to bat). I just needed to figure out a way to get on and get guys in.”
“What really made me successful was going up and trying to do what I needed to get done.
“I wasn’t trying to put balls over the fence, I just tried to score guys and get guys over (the plate).
“If you’re just trying to help your team win sometimes you get lucky and the numbers kind of reflect that.”
Mark says he obtained his new-found hitting approach by listening to a Steve Springer motivational CD given to him by Y-M Post 317 head coach Mike Decembrino.
A pro scout and performance coach for the Toronto Blue Jays, Springer spent parts of two seasons in the early 90s with the Mets and the Indians and had a Minor League career that spanned 14 seasons (1982-1995).
But Springer didn’t start for his high school team in Huntington, California. Despite that, he wound up attending the University of Utah on a full scholarship. In over 1,500 games played in the minors, he slugged 128 home runs and collected 1,592 hits.
With numbers like that, who can argue?
For now, the only numbers Mark has his eye on are at Ted Grabowski Field. Last year, the Firebirds went 15-6-1, finishing first in the Bicentennial Athletic League (BAL) Independence Conference at 14-2.
Districts saw Holy Ghost topple Wissahickon 5-1 before falling to Upper Moreland 1-0 in the Class 5A quarterfinal on a two-hit, compete game shutout pitched by Bears righthander Tommy Jacobs.
This spring, the ‘birds will take the field without the likes of starting pitchers Peyton Birch and John McCrane.
Birch – who was last year’s MVP in the BAL after going 6-1 with a 0.91 ERA and 67 strikeouts – now works the hill at Hofstra University and McCrane plays at the University of the Sciences.
Seibert will look to follow in their footsteps, after finishing his final season at Holy Ghost.