Hard work leads PV senior to baseball scholarship


Matt Austin

Craig Sodano and his family at Pascack Valley’s winter signing day ceremony. Sodano officially committed to Marymount University to play Division III baseball.

Willy Higgins, Sports Writer

Pascack Valley senior Craig Sodano has loved baseball since the first time he touched a bat. It has been his dream to one day playing college baseball, and now that dream is set to become a reality. On Wednesday Dec. 18, Sodano officially committed to Marymount University to continue playing baseball. However, the journey to get to this point has required lots of hard work and dedication. 

“My freshman year I didn’t play that much [for the] high school,” Sodano said. “Sophomore year was really the year that [I started to get better], but even then during the summer I wasn’t getting that much college attention.” 

Still unsatisfied, Sodano spent both offseasons working on his craft to make sure he was ready for his junior season, when it would be time to start putting college coaches on notice. 

“It was my junior year where I was able to start speaking with coaches,” Sodano said. “I was able to work really hard during [those offseasons] and that really was able to bring me up to the level that I’m at right now.”

After his junior season, college coaches began reaching out to him and expressing their interest towards him. While Marymount wasn’t the only college that was on Sodano’s radar, it took one visit to the school and one day with head coach Frank Leoni for him to realize Marymount is where he wants to attend.

“The thing that separated Marymount from all the other colleges was mostly the coach,” Sodano said. “I went to all these other schools where the coaches [would] spend 15 to 30 minutes with me, but [Leoni] spent the whole day with me. [After] six hours, I was able to really get to know [him and] I was able to build a great relationship with him.”

Throughout the journey leading up to his commitment to Marymount, Sodano hasn’t done it all by himself. He attributes a lot of his success to baseball coaches Steve Teel and Juan Nieves.

“I’ve had a lot of coaches help me out — I still work with [Nieves and Teel] to this day,” Sodano said. “I started hitting with them before high school started and they’ve been there for me throughout this whole journey. Most of the hours I’ve put into [baseball] are with them.”

Sodano is also thankful for the support he has received from his father since the very beginning of his baseball career.

“My dad has been there [for me] my whole life,” Sodano said. “He has coached me and driven me to all my games, practices and events. He’s been awesome for me and I really thank him for what he’s done. He hasn’t complained about it– he’s been there and stuck with me for the whole ride.”

Even with the help of others, it was up to Sodano himself to put in the extra work and separate himself from the competition. This wasn’t a problem for him, however, as he enjoys the process more than many would expect.

I love the game [and] I love playing it,” Sodano said. “But for me, I really love the process. The feeling of working for hours, achieving success and getting better is what I love the most.”