Fullerton will win big and score 20 runs. That's what Marco told Titan coach Augie Garrido and several players before their game against LSU. Fullerton won 20-6.
Mark Kotsay will hit a home run against Florida State. That's what Marco said two days before that game. Then Kotsay, a freshman leftfielder, belted a grand slam in the eighth inning as Fullerton defeated the Seminoles 10-3. "I told you," said Marco as Kotsay crossed home plate.
Dante Powell will break out of a world series slump and get a hit against Honda State. Sure enough, Marco the Mystic's prediction came true when Powell, a junior centerfielder who had been hitless in 22 career at bats in Omaha, lined a single to center in the third. "The kid is scary," said Powell.
The team's batboy for 3½ seasons, Marco played hooky from his second-grade class to attend the series, and he quickly became a fan favorite in Omaha, obliging autograph requests with his neat script signature. He also became a media darling, though he did not acquiesce when ESPN first approached him for an interview. "I turned them down," said Marco, sounding much like a big leaguer and also looking the part with a wad of bubble gum in his cheek and sporting grass-stained pants, hightop cleats and a batting glove.
The elder Martelli resisted the suggestion that he spend an off day with his son at the local racetrack. "They're not really predictions," said Joe of his son's pronouncements. "It's more that he just says what's on his mind. For every time he's been right, he's certainly been wrong many more times."
On June 8, when the Titans played Georgia Tech, Marco was at it again, saying that Fullerton would win it all. But Marco's magic went poof, as did the Titans, who were sent packing with the 3-2 loss to the Yellow Jackets. Marco didn't leave town, though, without making one final forecast: He predicted that he would someday play for Fullerton—just like his dad, who was a member of the 1979 team that won the series.
A Tough Loss
The tears seeped out from under the Oakleys and ran into the eye black. Senior second baseman Todd Delnoce's Arizona State team had just been eliminated by Oklahoma, and the memories ran together. "It's like a blur," said Delnoce, as he sat in the dugout last Thursday, a few minutes after the last out. "Friendships like this never end. I just wish we could have won it for Coach."
A year ago, shortly after the Sun Devils had been eliminated from the world series in just two games, Arizona State coach Jim Brock had cancer diagnosed in his liver and colon. Brock returned to coach the Sun Devils this season, and last month Delnoce wrote Brock a long letter, telling him how inspirational his battle with cancer was to the team. "He didn't want to thank me for the letter," said Delnoce. "He just told me not to write him any more stupid letters—which is a thank you, in his own way." Delnoce smiled at the memory. Typical Brock.
However, when Brock felt ill after arriving at Rosenblatt Stadium on June 6, he heeded his doctors' instructions and flew home to be hospitalized. Brock, 57, died at Desert Samaritan Hospital in Mesa on Sunday night.