June 27th, 2015 1:55 am

First Posted: 3/5/2013

Local sports fans might remember Sam Parente as a Pittston Area football player. He was a heck of a tight end/linebacker and won the Falcone MVP award in the 2008 PA-WA game when he caught five passes for 137 yards, an 80-yard touchdown and two crucial first downs, in a 28-14 PA win.

Enough of that. Baseball is his game.

Last month he was named captain of the Pitt University baseball team. He is the first team Pitt team captain from the East Coast and the first to wear team captain “C” on his game jersey.

At Pittston Area, class of 2009, he was a four-year letter winner, all-conference as a junior and senior and a three-year team captain. He batted .400 or better in three of his four season, hit 15 home runs with 78 RBI. The Patriots won two WVC titles and two District 2 championships while he was here.

PA head baseball coach Paul Zaffuto has a vivid memory of one of those District 2 championships. “When he was a freshman he got the game-winning hit in district championship game against Coughlin off Tom Buckler one of top pitchers that season. I thought he might be a little over matched, but even then he showed he could play with the big boys.”

While Parente has natural talent, Zaffuto said that’s not enough to get a player to Division I. “He is the hardest worker in gym and on the field. He’s where he is because of his work ethic. He’s disciplined in the weight room and on the practice field. We’re really proud of him. If anybody deserves it’s him.”

Parente went to Pitt after two seasons at Lackawanna College where he was, of course, team captain and first team All-Region and All-Northeast District both seasons with a .391 career average. As a freshman third baseman he was named the NJCAA Northeast District Defensive Player of the Year.

He also played for the Lackawanna Lumberjacks in the Atlantic Colligate Baseball League, a high-caliber wooden bat league funded in part by Major League Baseball.

Last season Parente debuted at Pitt with a 2-for-4 game with two runs and three RBI in win over Wofford. For the season he started 42 games at third base and batted .302 with a .378 on-base percentage and .358 slugging percentage. He was fifth on the team in RBI with 26.

This season he celebrated being named captain by going 7 -16, with a triple, stolen base and four RBIs in a season-opening three-game sweep of Wichita State last month. Since then he stayed hot. Through March 3 he was leading the team in batting average at 436, going 17-for-39 in nine games.

Sam is the son of Sam and Jean Parente, Pittston Township. He has two brothers; older brother, Angelo — drummer for the internationally known band Motionless in White — and a younger brother Peter. He is the grandson of Angelo and Lena Parente of Hughestown.