Surry’s Marion named All-American
After an amazing freshman campaign, Surry Community College’s John Marion has been named an All-American by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).
As a senior for East Surry in 2018, Marion batted .408 for the Cardinals. Incredibly, that already high number soared 32 more points in college as he led Region X and finished 28th nationally with a .440 batting average to earn second-team All-American honors.
Marion also placed 41st in the county with 62 hits - 21 more than anybody else on Surry’s third consecutive regular season Region X championship team. The team’s starting shortstop, Marion was also named Region X Player of the Year as he led the Knights in RBI (28) and doubles (14) and was second on the team with 28 runs scored.
“Being named Region X Player of the Year is an outstanding honor, but when you talk about All-American, there are about 90 schools, so that is quite an honor. That is a national honor,” Surry head coach Tim Collins said. “John is such a humble kid, so quiet, so unassuming, but works really hard. He’s always been a good hitter. He got better this year. We are hoping with another year and him getting bigger and stronger, there will be power numbers there. But with his swing and his approach, we are sure his average will stay the same. He has made himself such a better all-around player. He works tremendously hard on his defense. He is the type of player everybody wants - a left-handed-hitting middle infielder with size. I’m already getting a lot of people calling me about him.”
Marion’s .440 batting average was 41 points higher than anyone else in Region X in 2019. Within Region X play, he hit at an even higher clip - batting .509 in conference action. Collins said Marion is one of those rare players that hits better against good pitching.
“There is a huge jump from high school to college, and he was a better college hitter than high school hitter. He has a really good approach at the plate and he uses the whole field,” Collins said. “Pitch him out and he will go left. Pitch him away and he will hit it middle to right. He has a nice, level, fluid swing so his bat stays in zone, which allows him to hit offspeed pitches and the fastball. A lot of people hit the fastball but struggle with offspeed pitches, but he is just as good with both because he has such a smooth swing. Everybody now tries to lift the ball. He doesn’t, he tries to hit line drives. As one coach told me, right now he is really good as a freshmen. If he ever figures the power part out, he will be dangerous. But I think he hits good pitching better than he does bad pitching. And I think with the move to college, he is seeing more consistently good pitching, and I think that is part of it.”
Marion’s elite season at the plate continues a series of streaks for Surry baseball. The Knights have now had a player win Region X Player of the Year honors for three straight seasons. His All-American nod gives Surry four in the past three years (Michael Roberts in 2018 and Matthew Lambert and Jordan Huntley in 2017).
“That’s a pretty good run,” Collins said. “It looks good for both the college and the program.”
Marion said he was extremely honored to learn about the All-American selection. As far as the future, he just wants to continue focusing on his game and sophomore season at Surry before thinking about which four-year school he might attend.
“Every time I go to the plate I always try to hit a line drive to the opposite field. That helps me stay back, and if I get pitch inside then I can turn on it, but I always try to take it the opposite way,” Marion said. “As I get older and stronger, the power will come, but I have never been one to try to hit home runs. I’m just trying to get better for next year and then we’ll see what comes after that.”
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