for CBI Ivy League preview
Nine Innings with Dario Pizzano
By Phil Stanton
Pizzano is a junior outfielder at Columbia and one of the top
returning hitters in the Ivy League. He batted .359 in 43 games
a season ago with 15 doubles, two triples, nine homers, 34 runs
and 36 RBI. A native of Saugus, Mass., Pizzano drew 22 walks and
struck out just 18 times in earning First Team All-Ivy honors
for the second consecutive season. He was named Ivy League
Co-Rookie of the Year in 2010, hitting .372 with 12 doubles, 12
homers and 36 RBI.
Pizzano was a member of the
2003 Little League World Series United States finalists. Saugus
went 3-0 in pool play before Pizzano scored the winning run in
the bottom of the seventh as Saugus defeated Richmond (Texas)
14-13 in the U.S. semifinals. Saugus fell to Boynton Beach
(Fla.) in the United States Championship Game.
Pizzano recently took time
to answer our questions about the Lions.
First Inning – What made your transition so
smooth from high school to college baseball?
I think the most important thing that made the
transition easier was our team chemistry. It was an
uncomfortable and new situation living alone in college. The
fact that our team was very friendly and close with one another
helped a lot. Also, experience helps a great deal. Once you get
over the fact that it's your first college game and get rid of
the jitters, you realize that it's the same game you've been
playing since you were young.
Second Inning – What did it mean to you to be
voted team MVP in 2011?
Being voted team MVP was one of my greatest
honors and achievements. Our team had so many important facets
to it last year that every person could have been named MVP. It
felt great to be thought of in that manner by my teammates and
feel like I helped the team in any way possible.
Inning – Did playing in the NECBL this past summer help you in
preparation for the 2012 season?
Playing in the NECBL was very important for the
preparation of the 2012 season. It was my second straight summer
playing on that team and the talent in that league is
phenomenal. I'd say it's one of the top three or four summer
leagues and the success I had really boosted my confidence. I
can't wait for this season.
Fourth Inning – Which Columbia newcomer has
impressed you the most during practice?
We have a pretty strong freshman class this year
at Columbia. They've all come in and worked hard, trying to
prove themselves. I feel like there are no spots on the field
set in stone and that's a good problem to have. Jordan Serena is
the fastest player on our team and he has a good shot at seeing
time in the middle infield. Also, George Thanopoulos did really
well on the mound in fall ball, so hopefully he makes an impact
in our rotation.
Fifth Inning – After opening the season with a
four-game set at The Citadel, Columbia heads to California for
10-game road trip. What are your thoughts about that trip to the
I'm really excited for the trip to the West
Coast. It's good to see where we're at as a team and it helps us
gain confidence when we get a win. You can't complain about
getting out to play in sunny 80 degree weather compared to the
cold conditions in the Northeast.
Sixth Inning – What does Columbia have to do
to return to the Ivy League Championship Series?
I think we need to forget about preseason
predictions and play the season one game at a time. Last year we
returned almost our whole team and were expected to walk right
into the championship series. It may have got into our heads a
bit and made us a little lax at times. We have the talent again
this year and I think we're going to be ready to play.
Seventh Inning – You played basketball for
three years in high school. Is there anything you learned from
basketball that helps you with baseball?
I learned a lot from playing basketball over the
years. The biggest thing would probably be how the will to win
and pushing yourself to your limit are the deciding factors in a
lot of games. In the fourth quarter when you're tired and the
legs are heavy, it's important to keep pushing yourself to get
that win. Our Ivy League schedule consists of doubleheaders
Saturday and Sunday, so by the end of the weekend you don't have
much energy left. You have to push yourself with your teammates
to get that win.
Eighth Inning – What is the most interesting
thing you have seen in New York City in your three years at
I've seen plenty of interesting things while I've
lived in New York City. The most interesting is probably the
amounts of people that come here from around the world to visit
Times Square and the other attractions. Actually seeing the
lights and being in Times Square after watching the city in
countless movies and shows is pretty cool.
Ninth Inning – Can you describe your 2003
Little League World Series experience?
The summer of 2003 was probably the best
experience of my life. I always liked baseball and basketball
growing up, but once I played on center stage in front of
millions of people at twelve years old I strived to get back
there. We played some of the best little league players in the
world and did well. That experience made me want to play
(photos courtesy of Columbia Media