VERMILION — All season long, Elyria’s Marques Inman was treated like the best baseball player in Lorain County by opponents who chose to pitch around the power-hitting first baseman-pitcher.
On Saturday, Inman got the hardware to match that respect when he was presented with the 2015 Mr. Baseball award in between games of the annual Lorain County All-Star doubleheader at Vermilion High School.
Inman, a West Virginia commit, had a .391 batting average in his senior year despite being walked more than two dozen times.
“This award means a lot. It’s always been my dream to be Mr. Baseball,” said Inman, who had 73 career RBIs. “I felt like I could have done better in my senior year but I got pitched around so much I could never get into a groove. There was nothing I could do about it.”
Elyria coach Ed Piazza said that on the occasions teams actually pitched to Inman he made big things happen. Among his highlights were a game-winning three-run home run against North Olmsted, one of seven he hit this season, and a doubleheader against Avon Lake in his junior year in which he went 7-for-8 with seven RBIs.
“Marques is the hardest-working kid I’ve ever coached,” Piazza said. “He is a quiet leader. He’s done everything I’ve ever asked him to do. He’ll go out and play any position on the field if you need him. He’s always put the team first.”
Inman, who was also named the Lorain County Division I co-player of the year along with Amherst’s Rees Rua, did not play in Saturday’s all-star games because he is already committed to playing in the Northeast Ohio all-star game at Akron’s Canal Park on June 24 and the All-Ohio all-star game in Columbus on June 13.
“I’m always going to remember having the chance to play high school baseball with my friends and the kids I grew up and played with since I was 4 years old,” Inman said. “Now I’m ready to head off to West Virginia. I’m really excited to get there. I’m hoping to do big things.”
The $64,000 question, or in this case possibly more like the $640,000 question, for Inman is if, and how early, will he be selected in June’s MLB Draft, which is set for June 8-10. Some believe Inman could be selected as high as the first 10 rounds.
When asked about his draft prospects, Inman could only smile and say, “I really don’t know right now. It’s to be announced I guess.”
Piazza said Inman’s importance to the Elyria baseball team went well beyond the numbers in the box score.
“He would pick up kids and take them to workouts and games,” Piazza said. “He worked with our other all-county player, freshman Devan Nail, and explained things to him in the dugout and worked with him on hitting to the opposite field,” Piazza said. “It’s hard to explain what Marques meant to the team. He was like another coach on the field and in the dugout.”
According to Piazza, Inman is an all-star off the field as well.
“You won’t find a nicer young man,” Piazza said. “That’s a credit to his parents and him. You’ll never find anyone who has anything bad to say about Marques. We’re going to miss him.”
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7325 or firstname.lastname@example.org.