Cavalier Corner

June 2014

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BY MIKE SCANDURA T HE PAPI FAMILY OF Tunkhannock, Pa., has baseball in their blood. The father, Joe, was a pitcher at East Stroudsburg. Jeff, the second of three sons, was a pitcher at Mansfield. Mike is an all-everything first baseman/out- fielder for the NCAA Tournament-bound Virginia Cavaliers. All Mike Papi did as a third-year was earn first- team All-ACC honors for a second consecutive season (this time as a first baseman). Heading into The NCAA Tournament, he led the ACC in home runs (10) and walks (51); tie for third in RBI (47); rank third in on-base percentage (.442); rank in the top 10 in runs (45); and rank seventh in slugging percentage (.487). As a second-year, he was voted a first-team All-American (as an outfielder) by the ABCA and Baseball America, and became the first Cavalier to lead the ACC in batting (.381) since Glenn Harris in 1981. Between his father and brother, Papi enjoyed the best of both worlds. "[Dad] always taught me the majority of base- ball is all mental," Papi said. "If he taught me anything, it's being able to handle the failures that come with baseball and move past any negative thoughts that come in. "Being able to do that makes me the player I am." Brother Jeff taught him another valuable com- modity. "I've taken BP off my brother, but if anything the biggest thing he taught me is to be tough and to play hard," Papi said. "He told me to be a bull- dog and not a puppy dog, and just to go out and be tough and give it your all." As the above stats would indicate, being tough and giving it his all is something Papi has done in abundance. But the one stat that jumps off the page is this season he struck out only 41 times and drew 51 walks. That's a ratio that would be the envy of most major league players. "I do believe I have a very good knowledge of the strike zone, which also causes some issues for me in the ACC because the strike zone tends to get expanded," Papi said. "As a hitter you need BULLDOG All-American Mike Papi Has Brought Toughness To The Cavaliers i18-19.Mike Papi.indd 1 6/3/14 2:28 PM

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