BASEBALL: Marconi adds pitching coach to staff

Plexico brings experience from minor leagues

Alex Marconi completed his coaching staff Tuesday, announcing the hiring of pitching coach Jeremy Plexico.

Pitching coach was the final spot Marconi had to fill after getting hired in July to replace Greg Beals, who left Ball State to become the head coach at Ohio State in June. Plexico replaces Mike Stafford, who joined Beals at Ohio State.

Marconi said Plexico was recommended by his sources in the game.

"He had some very good recommendations from some very well respected people in college baseball," Marconi said. "I talked to some people I personally knew that had nothing but good things to say about him."

Plexico was the pitching coach at Young Harris Junior College in Georgia last year.

While in college, Plexico was an All-American at Winthrop after transferring from South Carolina. In his All-American senior season, the left-hander was 11-3 with a 2.90 ERA.

After college, Plexico pitched for five years in the Nationals' organization. Plexico reached Class AA Harrisburg before leaving affiliated baseball. He pitched one season of independent ball in Gary, Ind.

Marconi said Plexico's professional experience helped him standout from other candidates.

Plexico said his professional experience allowed him to see many different situations on the field, which makes him a better coach.

"In the minor leagues, you play 140 games a year," he said. "You see all different situations and scenarios."

Reaching the upper levels of minor league baseball made a big impact on Plexico as well. Knowing he could just be one step away from the major leagues, Plexico said he played as well as he could every day.

"You're only one call away from the big leagues," he said. "It forced you to elevate the level of your own play. That's really what we're trying to do at Ball State."

Plexico is a native of Chapin, S.C., and spent most of his life in the South. His one season in Gary was his only experience in the Midwest.

Marconi is confident Plexico will be able to recruit well once he gets to know the area and establishes contacts.

Plexico said while he was in Gary, he learned how much baseball is loved in the Midwest.

"Being in Gary, I realized there are very passionate baseball fans in this area," he said. "I was very pleasantly surprised that baseball is big in the Midwest."

After meeting the players, Plexico came away impressed with the Cardinals' attitude and desire to improve. He will get his first chance to watch the pitchers throw off the mound Wednesday as fall ball begins.

It will be a learning process for all the Cardinals. The players will have to get used to a new coaching staff that is very young. None of the coaches have more than six years of coaching experience.

"I think it's a great opportunity for us as a coaching staff to get to know each other and how we each coach and grow over the years together," Marconi said. "It's great for kids also. They've got a staff they can relate to."