A few weeks into his freshman year at Mount Union, Austin Marshall believes he's made the right choice - academically and athletically.
Not only is the 2013 Buckeye Local High School graduate studying at one of the Buckeye State's finer institutions of higher learning, but he's also earned his way onto the roster of one of the area's top NCAA Division III baseball squads.
Marshall, a key component of Coach Rick DeLuca's baseball team's in Connorville, is a member of the Purple Raiders.
''I like the environment up here,'' Marshall said from campus late last week. ''It's not too big. And it's an environment where you're able to get top know everyone.''
Mount Union brings plenty back from last spring's Ohio Athletic Conference championship team. So, Marshall knows he'll have to bide his time in order to make an immediate impact.
''I'm leaning toward making the jayvee team and making my way up from that,'' he said. ''I figure I'll try and make varsity next year and go from there.''
Currently, Marshall, the son of Jack and Renee Marshall of Adena, is honing his skills in fall ball.
''I'm just trying to stay active and trying to make the best of it,'' he said.
Marshall certainly brought many positive vibes throughout DeLuca's clubhouse. He averaged .444 last season, with seven homers, six triples and 31 doubles to go along with 40 runs scored. On the hill, he recorded a 5-1 mark, with 30 Ks.
''Talk about having another coach on the field, he epitomized that phrase,'' DeLuca said. ''I told him that if he didn't go to college I wanted to add him to my staff.
''Of course, I'm so very happy he is going to school, continuing to play baseball. With his attitude and drive, I would be shocked if he didn't do well in whatever he takes on in his life.''
Marshall said he's currently undecided on a major, but is leaning toward sports marketing.
The versatile Marshall certainly promoted himself well as a Panther, playing well at a variety of positions.
''He played primarily at shortstop as a junior, but accepted the move to second this past season which gave us a very strong middle teaming him with Shane Duncan,'' DeLuca said.
''At the plate, if he had a fault it was probably that he wasn't satisfied with a walk or just a single. He wanted to put the team on his back and carry the load.''
Clearly, DeLuca believes Marshall will be a great asset to the Mount Union program.
''There are good athletes that play baseball and then there are good baseball players,'' he said. ''Austin is a good baseball player that knew what to do when he stepped between the lines.''