Q&A with Elmhurst College commit Francisco Mari

By Steve Nielsen
Scouting Director – Illinois/Wisconsin

The Prep Baseball Report Unsigned Senior Showcases have proved fruitful for Francisco Mari (Elgin, 2014). Mari attended both the Unsigned Senior Games in August as well as the Unsigned Senior Showcase in October. Since those showcases Mari had received interest from multiple schools and in the end chose Elmhurst College.

PBR: What were your expectations about the recruiting process? Was it as expected? Easy/Difficult?

Mari: I expected the recruiting process to be easy. I expected coaches to just come to me. It was not as easy as I thought. You really have to work to get recruited and train really hard because not everyone gets to play baseball in college.

PBR: At what point in your career did you realize you were a college caliber player and became serious about taking your game to the next level?

Mari: After my worst year of baseball, sophomore year, I realized I needed to improve. I grew three inches and gained 45 pounds since sophomore year and with work have improved my fastball by nine mph.

PBR: When did the recruiting process really start to heat up for you? Was there a particular game or event that you feel turned the corner for you?

Mari: I felt that at the Prep Baseball Report showcase over the summer I got many calls from coaches. For some reason after that day I broke out of my slump and ended up batting over .500 for summer league and for travel while also going without losing on the mound.

PBR: What were you looking for out of a college program to continue your baseball career at? 

Mari: I was looking for a place where I could play right away and compete. I had been made offers by schools considered higher level than Elmhurst, and even Division 2 schools, but they were not as competitive and I would not be able to play as a freshman.

PBR: Did location or distance from home play a factor in your decision?

Mari: Location did play a factor in my decision. Elmhurst is right in between home and downtown Chicago for me so it was great.

PBR: Where did Elmhurst College first see you? How did your relationship develop with them?

Mari: Elmhurst College first saw me at a Prep Baseball Report Showcase during the summer. Coach Southern sent me a letter right after the event along with several other coaches.

PBR: What part of your game needs the biggest improvement, why, and what will you do to improve it?

Mari: What needs the most improvement is probably my fastball speed. I’m at 82 mph so I will be doing a lot of leg strengthening exercises.

PBR: What advice would you give to young baseball players striving to get where you are?

Mari: Start emailing coaches and sending videos early, and take every practice as a chance to get better than other people.

PBR: What do you like most about Elmhurst and what were the key factors in making your decision?

Mari: I love the coach, the school campus, the academics and the fact that I am going to get to play as a freshman, so everything.

PBR: What other schools were on your short list before you made your final decision?

Mari: University of Illinois Springfield and Concordia University Chicago were on my shortlist also.

PBR: Preview your high school season for us. How do you feel your team will be? What are your expectations and goals?

Mari: We have a transfer student who is a good addition and we have three different three year varsity members including myself. Our coaches and I have high expectations. We are going to be solid this year and I have a good friendship with everyone on my team. My goals are to win regionals, have fun and be a good leader for the younger players.

PBR: Where do you play in the summer? And what has been your most memorable experience with them?

Mari: I play with the Elgin Express and my most memorable moment was when I blew a save in my first appearance and my coach believed in me enough to pitch me the next tournament and I threw a no-hitter.

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