The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Mike Mastovich

July 23, 2010

MIKE MASTOVICH: Pitcher awarded scholarship

JOHNSTOWN — Berkley Hills Renegades pitcher Braxton Ferre’s name wasn’t among the list of major award winners in the AAABA League on Thursday night.

But as the league playoffs opened on Friday, Ferre learned he had been selected for another award that had special significance to him and his family.

The 18-year-old right-hander became the sixth recipient of the Marlon Mackel Award and scholarship named for the late umpire who called many AAABA League games over the years. The award is based on more than solid play. It is intended to assist a college-bound player with financial needs that extend beyond the everyday student loan and grant application process.

“We’re looking for someone who has a need,” said Bob George, one of the committee members for the award that is presented through the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies. “Each team is supposed to submit a nomination.

“This is the sixth award. The scholarship is $1,000.”

Ferre went 3-3 on a Renegades team that won only 12 games. He lost a pair of 2-1 games, including a three-hitter against regular-season champion Martella’s and a setback to Principle on Monday.

“He does multiple things well,” Renegades manager Roland Black said. “He’s a great presence in the dugout. He’s always behind the rest of his guys. He’s been throwing really well. He hit 90 miles an hour on the gun this year. He’s a great character player too. He’s always positive and he’s a pleasure to coach.”

Those intangibles contributed to Ferre’s selection.

The recent Bishop McCort High School graduate will make the transition into college amid some challenges many other freshmen won’t encounter.

“It means a lot because my family is going through a hard time,” said Ferre. “I work hard.

“I keep my grades up. I’m really proud to receive this scholarship. Going through college is a tough time in any young teenager’s life. Any little bit of money that I could get to help me go through college is a really big help for me. I pay for a lot of my own things.”

Ferre will attend a nursing program at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.

“He absolutely fits the profile of what this award is about,” Black said. “His family is hard-working people. They’ve just had a couple bad breaks. This money means a lot more to him than most people.”

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