Feature: Mannix rises to top in senior year

Brad McCarthy

Baseball is a team sport, but any fan can tell you that every team has its stars, and that these few outstanding athletes always create the margin of victory. For the Wildcats this year, that player has been senior third baseman Brendan Mannix. As a leader on the Wildcat squad, Mannix has performed phenomenally at the plate, and at times carried the ‘Cats to victory on his swing.

After suffering a serious knee injury on February 22, Mannix was in a precarious position that seemingly jeopardized his career as a Villanova baseball player. After dedicating so much of his life to the team, it seemed as if those long hours of practice were sacrificed in vain.

However, as a seasoned veteran who had experienced setbacks before, he knew what it would take to come back.

“The injury was really a reality check for me,” Mannix said. “You begin to realize that anything can happen, and you learn to appreciate being able to play a lot more.”

Mannix knew that through disciplined rehabilitation he could overcome his injury.

“I had a similar injury in high school,” he said. “I knew I could come back, it was just a matter of time.”

His comeback was nothing less then magnificent. Infallible at the plate, Mannix tore through Big East and non-conference pitchers alike. His performances repeatedly surpassed themselves and culminated in a sensational, week-long hot streak. Between April 8 through 14 he batted .562, crushing four home runs, two of which came in Big East play, while the Wildcats went on a 5-0 tear. His offensive prowess earned him recognition as the Northeast Regional Player of the Week two weeks ago in College Baseball Insider, a prominent NCAA baseball magazine.

“It felt great to play that well,” Mannix said with a smile. “I didn’t feel any different, the ball just seemed bigger then normal, like a little beach ball. It was really a matter of picking a good pitch and putting a good swing on it.”

Mannix furthered credited the ‘Cats’ successful season to new head coach Joe Godri and his staff, setting aside any doubters who believed that the coaching change would be a difficult adjustment for the players.

“The team has a lot of respect for coach Godri,” Mannix said. “Our work ethic is great and everyone wants to win. It makes me really want to play for the team.”

The senior from Crofton, Md. has had many influences in his life but has never forgotten his roots.

“My parents are my biggest influence without a doubt,” Mannix said. “When they come to the games I always try to play well to make them proud.”

Because the baseball team is a close group of players, Mannix has feels he has also been influenced by his fellow teammates.

“My friends on the team, Brendan Trainor and Rob Cafiero, are always really positive,” he said. “I’ve lived with those guys for three years and they pick me up if I have a bad game.” With the strong support Mannix has received both on and off the field, it is no wonder his talents have flourished considerably.

Will we see Brendan Mannix in the ranks of professional baseball? Professional sports being the most difficult, competitive and shortest-lived career track in the world, it is hard to tell. But one thing is for certain, Mannix will continue to play as long as he can. “Making the Majors has always been a dream of mine,” he said, “and I’ll play for anyone that will take me.” As a backup plan, Mannix says he is ready to put his finance degree to work.

Mannix has had an outstanding senior season, one that will not soon be forgotten. He has lifted not only the Wildcat box scores but the team’s spirits as well. He is at the top of his game and showing no signs of letting up, making Villanova’s chances in the upcoming Big East Tournament rosy indeed.