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Harry Markotay provided invaluable assistance for the 2019 Wilson Tobs summer collegiate baseball team that won both halves of the North Division in the Coastal Plain League and reached for the second straight year the semifinals of the Petitt Cup playoffs that crown the CPL champion.
In 2020, Markotay, only 24 years old, will depart status as the Tobs top assistant and step into the role as the successor to Bryan Hill as head coach.
And Markotay, also a former assistant coach along with Hill at NCAA Division II Chowan University, doesn’t shy away from addressing a mission to bring to Wilson its first CPL championship in the program’s 24-year history. A product of Hillsboro, Missouri, Markotay becomes the Tobs’ 17th head coach.
“I would love for us to bring the Petitt Cup home to Wilson, as well as for our guys to be sent back to their programs as better baseball players while also having a great summer baseball experience,” Markotay said in a release from the team.
In a weekend telephone interview, Markotay added: “I love I got the opportunity with the Tobs, and I hope to be here doing this for a few years. Wilson is like a second home to me. I love being in Wilson, and it’s awesome to be able to come back.”
HEAD COACH AT AGE 24
General manager Mike Bell hailed Markotay, one of the youngest head coaches in league history, a “great choice.”
“He’s well-qualified,” Bell said in the release. “He coached and played under Bryan Hill. Bryan rubbed off on him. Coach Markotay found out that coaching in the CPL and in college (during the spring season) goes a long way.
“Coach Markotay is excited to be named the head coach and is excited to be a part of the atmosphere throughout the town of Wilson and historic Fleming Stadium.”
The 2020 Tobs are scheduled to play exhibition games in Fleming Stadium on May 24 and 26 before launching the regular season against the defending champion Morehead City Marlins on May 28.
Markotay and Bell expect baseball despite the lingering threat of the coronavirus.
“We are just ready for the baseball season to start back again,” Bell said.” I have faith in the coaching staff and we’ve got more to prove.”
“I hope so and believe so,” Markotay said of the likelihood of a 2020 season for the Tobs. “It would be good for Wilson and the college players we have coming.”
Markotay will be joined by Devan Watts in the role of pitching coach. Bell indicated one coaching spot still has to be filled.
The Tobs’ new head coach spent his college career at St. Charles Community College (2015 and 2016) and Chowan (2017 and 2018). Markotay graduated from Chowan with a B.S. degree in exercise science.
As a senior with the Chowan baseball team, Markotay led the Hawks in batting average (.405) and hits (62) while also hitting eight home runs and stealing 12 bases. He compiled a 1.129 on-base percentage plus slugging, a .673 slugging percentage and .456 on-base percentage. He earned numerous honors, including Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association All-Tournament in 2017.
Markotay was an assistant coach at Chowan in 2018-19, and was a graduate assistant coach at the University of Dallas (Div. III) in the fall of 2019. This spring, he began his tenure as the assistant coach at Jefferson College (National Junior College Athletic Association Div. I).
A product of Mooresville, Watts is new to the Tobs staff. He started his collegiate career at Tusculum University, where he was selected to the All-South Atlantic Conference first team in 2015. During that summer, Watts pitched for the Edenton Steamers team that captured the CPL championship.
Watts was a 17th-round draft pick of the Atlanta Braves in 2016. He pitched in the minors in the Braves’ and Chicago White Sox organizations. At the Class A level, Watts was tabbed a Florida State League All-Star in 2017.
“When I got the opportunity to join the Wilson Tobs, I was very excited,” stated Watts in the release. “The Tobs have always been a power CPL team and I’m looking forward to bringing my pitching knowledge to the Tobs organization.”
Watts and Markotay must ready athletes who have not played organized baseball since early March because of the coronavirus shutdown.
GET BETTER EVERY DAY
“We’ll have a couple of practices,” Markotay pointed out. “They will be eager to play and the main thing is getting them back to game speed and trying to keep the nerves down. They’re going to be excited.”
So is Markotay.
“I believe I’m ready,” he expressed. “I have a good staff behind me. I’ve got big shoes to fill.
“With the guys we have, we’ll be just fine. There are top level players. We are looking for a few more guys, but we are ready to go.
“We have got to continue to play ball and develop players for their college programs. We have to want it more than anybody else.”
Markotay speaks of a philosophy of “have fun, get better every day and know we can’t take anything for granted.
“We have to take it like every game is the last one,” he continued. “We have some big returnees coming back to help lead the team and be a good example for the new players.”
“The players will be here to get their work in and help us win a championship. It’s time to bring home the championship to Wilson.”