Senior baseball captain Jason Mark reflects on his journey as a key player and team leader

From+making+the+varsity+team+as+a+freshman+to+facing+challenges+in+his+third+season%2C+Jason+Mark+has+proven+integral+to+the+baseball+team%E2%80%99s+success.+Mark+has+overcome+many+challenges+and+worked+hard+to+be+able+to+step+onto+the+field+healthy+this+season.+%0A%0A
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Senior baseball captain Jason Mark reflects on his journey as a key player and team leader

From making the varsity team as a freshman to facing challenges in his third season, Jason Mark has proven integral to the baseball team’s success. Mark has overcome many challenges and worked hard to be able to step onto the field healthy this season.

From making the varsity team as a freshman to facing challenges in his third season, Jason Mark has proven integral to the baseball team’s success. Mark has overcome many challenges and worked hard to be able to step onto the field healthy this season.

Photo credit: Amy Chalan

From making the varsity team as a freshman to facing challenges in his third season, Jason Mark has proven integral to the baseball team’s success. Mark has overcome many challenges and worked hard to be able to step onto the field healthy this season.

Photo credit: Amy Chalan

Photo credit: Amy Chalan

From making the varsity team as a freshman to facing challenges in his third season, Jason Mark has proven integral to the baseball team’s success. Mark has overcome many challenges and worked hard to be able to step onto the field healthy this season.

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As senior Jason Mark faces his last season on Boys Varsity Baseball, his teammates, coaches, and friends look back on his contributions to the success of the team during NYSAIS and integrity of the program.

Jason began playing baseball at a young age, but his parents did not expect him to fall in love with the sport.

“My dad and mom wanted me to quit when I was 8 or 9 so they put me in really hard camps in the Bronx because they thought that would discourage me from playing because I would be intimidated. But then, I just didn’t have a problem with being in an intense atmosphere and ended up loving it. It ultimately backfired on them because I loved the game even more.”

After playing on a travel team and dedicating himself to baseball throughout middle school, Jason began his athletic journey at Hackley. Although he was admitted to a few other private schools, he chose Hackley because of the strength of the baseball team and the opportunity to board. “I wanted to board and Hackley was coming off a championship run for baseball so I thought I would get the best of both worlds by being able to board and by being on a competitive team,” he said.

After making the varsity team his freshman year along with senior Peter Clyne, Jason felt pressured by his goal of being an important player of the team.

“For two years, I was the youngest kid on the team, which conflicted with my personality, because I want to be “the guy,” so being the youngest and still wanting to be the leader conflicted quite a bit with the upperclassmen.”

Peter also agreed with Jason’s critique of himself but acknowledged Jason’s growth as a leader:

“Freshman year he was big-headed, to be honest,” Peter said, “But, I think he realized how much work it takes to be a leader and now he’s very motivated by that.”

After an outstanding sophomore year season where Jason aided the team to the NYSAIS semifinals, hit a 480 batting average, and hit one home run, he was awarded First Team All-Ivy. Coming into his junior year season, this accomplishment cost him more than he expected, challenging his playing ability.

“Coming off my sophomore year they [other teams] knew who I was so they didn’t throw the ball in the strike zone as much … it took a while to understand that I was not going to get a perfect pitch at the bat but I learned to be patient enough to wait for a ball I could actually do something with and not just swinging at all balls that came my way,” he said.

Despite this setback, Jason is exceptionally excited about the team’s performance so far, having learned from his past three years on Hackley Varsity Baseball. In addition, as a captain this year, his teammates view him as integral to their success.

“I’ve learned how to be smarter with my words, which is important because it is impactful how your teammates interpret your advice,” he noted.

This progression from his attitude in his first season is noted by his teammates, who look up to and respect him. Sophomore Niki Eckert said, “He’s one of the best on our team, if not the best. He’s always really nice and inclusive; I just got hurt yesterday and he stopped me in the hall to ask me how I was…he takes leadership seriously and plans out certain plays we have.”

In addition to his care for each player on the team, Jason’s energetic attitude contributes to the team’s performance.

“He gets very heated during games and we can always count on him to fire up the team… He doesn’t let any adversity really hit him and he’s matured into a big leader for us,” Peter said.

Jason attributes his success as a leader to the chemistry of this year’s team.

“We are a very close team and that’s helped with my development as a leader because it’s easier to lead and be able to trust that your teammates have your back when you have that team chemistry,” he said.

Athletic Director Jason Edwards also noted Jason’s abilities, reflecting how one measures the accomplishments of a student-athlete.

“When you look at a student-athlete it’s not just the performance that makes them stand out. It’s also their attitude, their willingness to work with others and other players, is what makes them a true good student-athlete,” he noted.

Although it is Jason’s fourth season playing baseball at Hackley, his passion for the sport is still contagious to those around him. Because Jason is currently not committed to play collegiate baseball,  he plans on walking on to the varsity team at Fordham University.

“This season is the last guaranteed season I have to play the sport I love so I’m going to try and enjoy my last Hackley season even though I don’t plan on stopping baseball after this…at the end of the day it’s about having fun.”

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