This week, the Mennitt’s are a baseball family divided.
Mark Mennitt has built Marvin Ridge into a baseball powerhouse but the veteran coach is somewhat alone in the family in hoping the Mavericks take another step towards a third-consecutive Class 3A State Championship when they take on Cuthbertson is a three-game series beginning April 18. The second game is scheduled for Wednesday while the series finale will be played April 21.
Cuthbertson shortstop Sam Mennitt, however, is hoping that this week will help propel he and his Cuthbertson teammates to a deep playoff run, and give the Cavaliers senior family bragging rights in the last meeting regular-season meeting between father and son.
You can also probably count Ellen Mennitt in her son’s camp this week.
The Mennitt’s live in the Cuthnertson school district and Sam made the decision years ago to stay with his friends and current teammates and attend Cuthbertson. Sam could have opted to go play for his father at rival Marvin Ridge.
“He could have come (to Marvin Ridge),” Mark Mennitt said. “But he made the decision to stay with his buddies that he grew up with and play with them. It was his decision. He made that decision and I backed him 100 percent.”
But come game time, Mark Mennitt said his main emphasis is coaching the Mavericks to victory..
“It’s a week that we have been looking forward to, and I am sure they have been looking forward to it,” Mark Mennitt said. “Going to be some great games. I love my son more than anything, but he is a competitor and I am a competitor.
“When we get out there, we are both going to try and win. He is going to be my son for the rest of his life, and I want him to do well. Hopefully, we will come out on top and at least win two out of three.”
Sam Mennitt said several different things factored into his decision to attend Cuthbertson.
“My dad, he has coached me all his life,” Sam Mennitt said. “I knew it would be good to get some different insight from (Cuthbertson) Coach (Travis) Little. Plus, these guys are my best friends. I have known them since kindergarten. I knew this is something I wanted to do. I made the right decision, even if they did win those two state championships.”
Mark Mennitt said that game week for Marvin Ridge-Cuthbertson isn’t all that different for the Mennitt’s. Sam agrees. In fact, the Sunday before the game the Mennitt’s were out on the diamond getting in some practice.
“We handle it pretty good,” Mark Mennitt said. “He is a mature young man and he gets it. I give him his space and he gives me my space. It’s going to be fun. It’s fun for our family, too. Whatever happens, happens.”
“It’s pretty normal,” Sam Mennitt said. “We are ready for, and it has been on my calendar for a little while.”
Mark Mennitt expects Ellen to be in Sam’s corner this week.
“Momma should be with her son, and she will be and I want her to be,” Mark Mennitt said. “She, obviously, pulls for me, but she is going to be pulling for him. I’m glad because that is the way it ought to be.”
Sam Mennitt, who has signed with Charlotte, is having a stellar senior campaign. Sam Mennitt carried a .422 batting average with 16 RBIs and four doubles into this week, according to unioncountybaseball.com.
Cuthbertson was 14-4 overall and 7-2 in the Southern Carolina Conference heading into the series with Marvin Ridge.
“We are starting to pick up some speed,” Sam Mennitt said. “
Marvin Ridge took a 14-game winning streak into the series with Cuthbertson as the regular season hits the stretch mark.
“We are playing good baseball,” Mark Mennitt said. “We are finding ways to score runs, we are playing good defense and our pitching has been fantastic. That is a recipe for winning a lot of games. Make routine plays behind our pitching, find a way to scratch a few runs, it’s a good recipe.”