By Mike Zhe firstname.lastname@example.org June 22, 2019
Just not the batting order.
“I knew I had to hit the weight room more, and just continue to get bigger and stronger and better,” he said.
He did. In fact, it’s tough to imagine a player progressing so much in a little over a year.
McDaniel just wrapped up a junior year that saw him bat .556, the best average in the Southwestern Maine Activities Association. Earlier this month he made a verbal commitment to continue his baseball career at the University of Maine.
Not bad for a guy who spent the first half of last season watching the offensive half of the game from the bench as a designated hitter took his at-bats.
“You add 365 days to that and he’s just gone out of the stratosphere,” said former Marshwood coach Eric Fernandes.
Between the weight room, and offseason travel ball with the USA Mavericks and coaches Dave Hoyt and Brent Edmunds, and sessions at Mike Montville’s Northeast Sports Performance facility in Seabrook, N.H., McDaniel — the youngest of three baseball-playing brothers from Eliot — returned for his junior season with his spot in the lineup high and secure.
“I just felt a lot more confident at the plate and definitely a lot stronger,” he said. “Balls were just firing off the bat quicker than before.”
“In the offseason he was hitting five or six times a week,” said Fernandes.
Maine coach Nick Derba and his staff had reached out to McDaniel in the fall following his summer season, but weren’t really on his radar until this season began winding down, he said.
The Hawks, who also featured fellow junior and UMaine commit Connor Caverly, went 11-5 to finish fourth in Class A South. They beat Portland in a regional quarterfinal game before falling to top-seeded South Portland in the semis.
″(Maine) came to the Portland playoff game,” McDaniel noted. “I got a text that night asking when I was available to talk. (Derba) said he wanted to have me up on campus for a visit.
“I went up there and I loved it. Coach was awesome. They have one of the top facilities in New England. It just felt right.”
McDaniel and Caverly will be the latest local products to head to Orono, following a path taken by Mike Fransoso (Portsmouth), former Marshwood standouts Zach Quintal and Zach Hodges, and pitcher Bobby Cliche (Exeter).
Both of Quinn’s older brothers played baseball at Marshwood. Noah went on to have a standout Division III career at St. Joseph’s College, while Cole quarterbacked the school’s football team to the Class B title in 2015 and now plays football at Maine Maritime.
“He benefited from having two very gifted brothers and he saw how they worked,” said Fernandes. “I never had to tell Quinny to work. He motivates himself.”
“I’ve just always been around the game,” said McDaniel. “They kind of taught me the ins and outs, and got me to where I am today.”
If his offense was strong this season, his defense at shortstop was another asset.
“Our defense always seems to make the plays,” said pitcher Marshall Smaracko.
McDaniel credits the coaching he’s received in recent years. Fernandes “has done a lot for me. He gave me every opportunity I’ve had and has taught me a lot.” Hoyt and Edmunds, too, earned high praise.
Even without Fernandes, who stepped down after the season to devote more time to his landscaping business, the Hawks should be formidable. It will be the last baseball season at Marshwood for the line of McDaniel brothers, and Quinn will be the one carrying the flag.
“He’s a baseball player,” said Fernandes. “I kid him about taking his glove to the junior prom.”
ummer l after 50 years!!