Today: Jun 16, 2024

Eng a threat at plate for owls

Mike Neville Sports Editor

Baseball legend Mickey Mantle once said, “the hardest thing to do in sports, I think, is to hit a home run.”

For Owls’ outfielder Andrew Eng, a little bit of luck and raw talent proved to be an exceptional ally for his first season with the team.

Eng just broke a school record with four home runs in four straight games, going into each at-bat with a positive mindset.

“Going into each at-bat I am just trying to do whatever I can to contribute to the team,” said Eng. “My barrel just kind of ran into a couple of balls and I got a little lucky and hit a few out of the park.”

A deep home run to right field in a game vs. Felician from a few weeks back solidified Eng’s spot in the lineup, accompanied by a defining bat flip rivaling one of Barry Bonds.

“I had a couple home runs in the Adelphi game. It wasn’t the best time to show up the pitcher at the time and get the boys riled up,” said Eng. “It was a rainy day, I said now was the time, the pine tar stuck to my hands well and everything fell into place.”

Before he was hitting towering home runs, and taking the Northeast 10 Conference by storm, Eng had another home.

Prior to this season, Eng competed at Division I Binghamton University and the will to win is the biggest difference.

“Division II is more gritty. It is baseball in its purest form and guys are here for the love of the game and it is great to see,” said Eng.

Someone who has been at the Division II level for an exceptional amount of service time and knows about the power and agility Eng possess is Tony Zambito.

The two have known and played with each other since they were both juveniles. Zambito played an extensive role in making Eng an Owl.

“When he entered the recruiting pole, our assistant coach texted me asking if I knew anything about Andrew,” Zambito said. “A couple days later Andrew sent me a text saying your coach shot me an email and said to call him back.”

No more than a week later, Eng was shown around the Southern campus, familiarizing himself for the next chapter in his life.

Head coach Tim Shea gave props to Zambito as the messenger to bring Eng to the Owls.

“I had no idea who Andrew was Tony was the millman,” said Shea. “Andrew was looking for a home and blind faith played a part, since we couldn’t see him in person due to COVID.”

When Eng came knocking at the door for an opportunity, Shea said he was not afraid to give the power bat his chance. He said he has never seen someone quite like Eng.

“He has tremendous power. I haven’t seen anything like it in my 30 plus years,” said Shea. “He can hit the ball the other way just as far.”

Every player has their starting points, those who they look up to. Eng did not have to look far when finding his role models.

“Baseball was something my dad and brother introduced me to. It inspired me to continue to play, I owe them,” said Eng.

Matsui is an athlete who has made a name for himself at the big-league level. This is a feat that Eng said could always be a possibility.

“I think it’s crazy to think any college athlete doesn’t have aspirations to make a career out of it,” said Eng. “I have to keep my nose down and see what happens. At this point in my life it is not exactly on the top of my list but it’s always in the back of my mind. Whatever happens”.

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