Former CSU-Pueblo pitcher Mario Mattivi earned a chance to compete at the professional level Wednesday when he was signed to pitch for the St. George Roadrunners, a team in the independent Golden League.
Mattivi joined former ThunderWolves currently playing professional baseball: Jeff Williams (Traverse City Beach Bums; Frontier League), Mike Massaro (Gary Southshore Railcats; Northern League), and Joey Newby, who is playing in the Seattle Mariners organization with their AA club, the West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx.
The signing was engineered by former ThunderWolf baseball player, Buck Thomas, who is now a scout in the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim organization.
“I have a good relationship with [Roadrunners manager and former Major Leaguer] Cory Snyder, and he liked what he saw out of Mario and decided to give him a shot,” Thomas said. “I’m happy I could help Mario get this shot and help benefit the CSU-Pueblo baseball program. [The former CSU-Pueblo players] stay real close to the program, and those of us in a position to help out the current players are always trying to put out the word and let clubs know about the talent that comes out of Pueblo.”
Thomas turned Mattivi’s name into the Angels’ organization for consideration during the 2009 Major League Baseball Draft, but his name wasn’t called. After no ThunderWolves were taken in the draft, current CSU-Pueblo coach Stan Sanchez began to request assistance from his contacts in the baseball world, like Thomas, and get some of the Pack’s standouts a shot in the pros.
“It’s a really great opportunity for Mario,” Sanchez said. “He was a strong pitcher for us and he definitely has the ability to be effective at the next level. Sometimes, guys take the long road of independent ball to get to the Majors, and I have no doubt that Mario will pitch well and open a few of the Major League scouts’ eyes.”
Mattivi enjoyed one of the finest careers of any pitcher in CSU-Pueblo history, earning 16 wins for the ThunderWolves in two seasons with the Pack, which puts him in the top ten in wins in school history. In 2009, Mattivi was named a first-team all-RMAC selection, as well as a first-team Daktronics All-Central Region and second-team all-Central Region selection by the American Baseball Coaches’ Association.