Boy of Summer Also a Boy of Winter-Boston Globe

June 11, 2009

By Marvin Pave Boston Globe / June 11, 2009

His focus was on prepping for the stretch run that would eventually propel the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth men's basketball team to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division 3 tournament. But Jeff Macchi was also looking ahead to the upcoming baseball season.

So after basketball practice, the former two-sport standout at Franklin High joined his Corsair baseball teammates for a little long toss and a few swings. Not against live pitching, and risk a possible injury. But enough work to keep his timing on track.

The workouts helped the versatile Macchi complete a quick turnaround for his diamond debut in mid-March, after the university's basketball team was eliminated in the tourney, losing to DeSales University in Lancaster, Pa.

"The game ended on Friday evening and I was in Fort Myers, Florida, by 11:30 the next night to join the baseball team on its spring trip," said Macchi, who starts on the wing for the basketball team and in center field for the baseball team.

"On Sunday morning, I was in the lineup. The traveling and not facing live pitching caught up to me. I was tired and went 0-for-5."

Macchi, a two-time Hockomock League MVP in basketball and a .470 hitter his senior year in baseball at Franklin High, bounced back in his next game, going 2 for 4 with a double and three RBIs against Fontbonne University of St. Louis.

It was the springboard to by far his best collegiate season: he hit .375 in 36 games this spring, with 34 runs scored, 11 doubles, 3 triples, 2 homers, and 31 RBIs.

The 6-foot-1, 187-pound junior captain also had a .535 slugging percentage and .436 on-base percentage while stealing 13 bases in 14 attempts, and playing errorless ball in center field.

"I can think of only one other player since 1985 who has played both basketball and baseball here," said UMass-Dartmouth baseball coach Bob Curran, "and it takes a lot of dedication."

Macchi's older brother, Joe, a baseball assistant at the school, said his brother and the other upperclassmen set a great example down the stretch.

"I'm proud of him as a brother and as a coach because he's worked so hard on the little things," he said.

When Kirk Fredriksson, general manager of the New Bedford Bay Sox, in its first year in the New England Collegiate Baseball League, was looking to fill his roster earlier this month, he called Curran and asked for the name of his best available player.

Curran recommended Macchi, who had appeared in all three of New Bedford's games through last weekend, two as a starter.

Macchi said the transition from basketball to baseball was made easier because of UMass-Dartmouth's pressing style that had him in top shape for baseball. "And baseball helps me as a basketball player," he said, "because you have to be mentally tough in different situations."

Macchi was both fit and tough for the Corsairs basketball team, which finished 27-4 and tied a school record for victories. He averaged 11.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.7 steals, and 2.1 assists per game and was named to the Little East Conference All-Defensive Team.

"Jeff isn't just a very good basketball player, he's a pretty gifted athlete," said Corsairs coach Brian Baptiste. "What he gives our team goes well beyond his stats. He was one of our leaders in steals and he can play two positions. He was hindered his sophomore season by an ankle sprain, but he came back this year to play 28 to 30 minutes a game. He has great anticipation, especially on the defensive end."

Whether he is on the basketball court or the diamond, Macchi has shown the flair for the dramatic.

"My senior year at Franklin High we went into the game that would decide the league championship with our other captain injured," said Macchi, who responded with a school-record 39 points in a come-from-behind win over visiting North Attleborough.

Then, as a college freshman in his first varsity baseball start with the Corsairs, he hit a walk-off home run against Whittier College of California.

"That was pretty exciting. I got mauled by my teammates," said Macchi, who hopes for more good memories this summer with the Bay Sox.

Marvin Pave can be reached at marvin.pave@rcn.com.

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Boy of summer also a boy of winter For Jeff Macchi (left), moving from basketball to baseball was made easier because of UMass-Dartmouth's pressing style on the court.

By Marvin Pave Globe Correspondent / June 11, 2009 Email| Print| Reprints| Yahoo! Buzz| ShareThisText size - + His focus was on prepping for the stretch run that would eventually propel the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth men's basketball team to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division 3 tournament. But Jeff Macchi was also looking ahead to the upcoming baseball season.

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Other area players on the opening rosters of the New England Collegiate Baseball League:

Keene Swamp Bats: P Dan White (UMass-Lowell/Southborough)

Lowell All-Americans: OF Matt Miller (Northeastern/Sudbury); INF Charlie Pagliarulo (Bentley/Medford); P Rob Nicholas (Franklin Pierce, Southborough)

North Shore Navigators: INF Alex Lee (Wofford/Newton); P Jeff Tardiff (Le Moyne/Framingham)

Pittsfield American Defenders: OF/1B John Andreoli (UConn/Shrewsbury); C Artie Posch (Brandeis/Hopedale)

Compiled by Marvin Pave So after basketball practice, the former two-sport standout at Franklin High joined his Corsair baseball teammates for a little long toss and a few swings. Not against live pitching, and risk a possible injury. But enough work to keep his timing on track.

The workouts helped the versatile Macchi complete a quick turnaround for his diamond debut in mid-March, after the university's basketball team was eliminated in the tourney, losing to DeSales University in Lancaster, Pa.

"The game ended on Friday evening and I was in Fort Myers, Florida, by 11:30 the next night to join the baseball team on its spring trip," said Macchi, who starts on the wing for the basketball team and in center field for the baseball team.

"On Sunday morning, I was in the lineup. The traveling and not facing live pitching caught up to me. I was tired and went 0-for-5."

Macchi, a two-time Hockomock League MVP in basketball and a .470 hitter his senior year in baseball at Franklin High, bounced back in his next game, going 2 for 4 with a double and three RBIs against Fontbonne University of St. Louis.

It was the springboard to by far his best collegiate season: he hit .375 in 36 games this spring, with 34 runs scored, 11 doubles, 3 triples, 2 homers, and 31 RBIs.

The 6-foot-1, 187-pound junior captain also had a .535 slugging percentage and .436 on-base percentage while stealing 13 bases in 14 attempts, and playing errorless ball in center field.

"I can think of only one other player since 1985 who has played both basketball and baseball here," said UMass-Dartmouth baseball coach Bob Curran, "and it takes a lot of dedication."

Macchi's older brother, Joe, a baseball assistant at the school, said his brother and the other upperclassmen set a great example down the stretch.

"I'm proud of him as a brother and as a coach because he's worked so hard on the little things," he said.

When Kirk Fredriksson, general manager of the New Bedford Bay Sox, in its first year in the New England Collegiate Baseball League, was looking to fill his roster earlier this month, he called Curran and asked for the name of his best available player.

Curran recommended Macchi, who had appeared in all three of New Bedford's games through last weekend, two as a starter.

Macchi said the transition from basketball to baseball was made easier because of UMass-Dartmouth's pressing style that had him in top shape for baseball. "And baseball helps me as a basketball player," he said, "because you have to be mentally tough in different situations."

Macchi was both fit and tough for the Corsairs basketball team, which finished 27-4 and tied a school record for victories. He averaged 11.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.7 steals, and 2.1 assists per game and was named to the Little East Conference All-Defensive Team.

"Jeff isn't just a very good basketball player, he's a pretty gifted athlete," said Corsairs coach Brian Baptiste. "What he gives our team goes well beyond his stats. He was one of our leaders in steals and he can play two positions. He was hindered his sophomore season by an ankle sprain, but he came back this year to play 28 to 30 minutes a game. He has great anticipation, especially on the defensive end."

Whether he is on the basketball court or the diamond, Macchi has shown the flair for the dramatic.

"My senior year at Franklin High we went into the game that would decide the league championship with our other captain injured," said Macchi, who responded with a school-record 39 points in a come-from-behind win over visiting North Attleborough.

Then, as a college freshman in his first varsity baseball start with the Corsairs, he hit a walk-off home run against Whittier College of California.

"That was pretty exciting. I got mauled by my teammates," said Macchi, who hopes for more good memories this summer with the Bay Sox.

Marvin Pave can be reached at marvin.pave@rcn.com.

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