M. Marker

Mariesha Marker, a former Lady Celts softball player, signed with the Chicago Bandits of the National Pro Fastpitch League for the coming season.

“You know, it’s every collegiate athlete’s dream to keep going after their four years, and I get the chance to play with and against some great players,” said Mariesha.

Mariesha is one of three catchers on the Bandits’ roster. One of her teammates is legendary pitcher Jennie Finch.

Upon graduating from McNary in 2006, Mariesha went to Long Island University (LIU) in New York. She helped the Blackbirds win a school-record 39 games in 2010 and advance to the regional finals for the first time in school history.

Mariesha enjoyed an outstanding senior season as the starting catcher for LIU.

She earned National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-Northeast Region Second Team honors after boosting her batting average 80 points from last season to .373. She smacked a career-high six home runs while adding 15 doubles and three triples.

“I worked very hard in the off-season, talking a lot of extra hitting outside of practices,” Mariesha said of the improvement. “I also paid attention to the little details that you sometimes miss as a younger player. When you are (an underclassman), you can get pulled into the outcome because you’re looking for immediate gratification. As I got older, the process seemed to click a bit more and my approach was great.”

Defensively, Marker threw out 39 percent of opposing base stealers. With six steals of her own, Mariesha moved into seventh all-time on LIU’s career stolen base list.

She also received All-Northeast Conference honors for the second straight season and was a member of the NEC all-Tournament squad.

“Mariesha had a terrific year for us,” said LIU head coach Roy Kortmann. “She capped it off by hitting .428 in the NCAA Regional as we reached the regional final for the first time in school history. An exciting offensive player, I think she is still getting better.”

Kortmann added: “She will be playing professionally with the best players in the world and will represent LIU and our program very well. Mariesha gets to live out a well earned dream.”

Mariesha still can’t believe the dream is hers. She got the call without trying out for the Bandits.

“I was going crazy once I got the call. My hands were shaking and I tried to read this book that I was so into, but my mind was racing with the opportunity that just changed my whole summer plans. It was an outstanding feeling,” she said.