Better Call Sal: Annunziata focused with draft looming

Kenneth Cook/Staff Photographer

Kenneth Cook/Staff Photographer

If warmer weather is a friend to a power hitter like senior first basemen Sal Annunziata, it’s also a reminder that his final stanza at SHU is upon him.

Annunziata, who with a pair of hits on April 29, at Saint Peter’s, surpassed Mo Vaughn for eighth on Seton Hall’s all-time hit list, said he’s not focusing too much on carving a path to an MLB career of his own right now.

“I don’t really focus on that too much,” said the Bronx, N.Y., native. “My main goal here, right now in this season, is to win out the rest of the conference, make it to the Big East championship and win. Whatever I’m lucky enough to have after that would be great. I’m just going to play my best baseball and hope for the best.”

If the Pirates are to make a deep run at the tournament title, Annunziata will need to play his best and continue producing at the plate. Currently, he leads the team with five homers and is tied for second on the team with 23 RBI’s.

For Annunziata, that’s just part of another day at the office—a calm approach to the game, but one that could help bring Annunziata and his team to their first title since 2011.

“I think understanding that it’s such a hard game, if there’s going to be ups and downs, the most important thing is just staying even-keeled—being confident in yourself and being confident in your teammates no matter how things are going.”

After starting 48 of 51 appearances as a freshman, Annunziata started all but one as a sophomore and by his junior season he started in all of his 51 appearances, posting a career-high .330 batting average to go along with 49 RBI’s and a .503 slugging percentage.

His role now as a senior hasn’t changed according to Annunziata.

“No different from what I’ve been asked the last few years. Just be the guy to come through to produce, keep guys loose and just play the right way, every single day,” Annunziata said.

While the consensus belief is that Annunziata will indeed continue to make baseball his craft, the social and behavioral sciences major has some kind of idea of what’s next, if it can’t be baseball.

“I could definitely get into some kind of sports psychology,” he said. “Playing baseball is a very mentally, emotionally taxing game. I’ve learned a good deal about that playing as much as I have.”

But for the senior, who last season as a junior picked up honors that included All-Big East second team and All-NJCBA first team, it’s hard to mention his future without talking about baseball—something that has helped provide helpful lessons relating to seemingly everything.

“Baseball is almost a direct correlation to the lessons you learn in life,” he said. “It teaches you to be a humble, but confident person. It’s taught me so much about life—how to handle failure, how to handle success, all of the above.”

With graduation from the university and the program ahead, Annunziata said his best memory at the Hall has yet to happen.

“The biggest memory I definitely want to have is winning a championship,” he said. “That’s the goal for the rest of the year.”

Author: Neal McHale

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