Etta Express loses four major players 2023

Matthew Busby, Brett Carson, Gino Sabatine, and Trent Valentine played their last Marietta College games Saturday.

These four players helped the Pioneers win two regional titles and one World Series in the last two seasons.

Carson joined Marietta before the 2022 season and made an impact. He batted.423 and hit 10 home runs, both second on a team that won 44 games and qualified for the D3 World Series in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Carson also pitched, going 6-3 with a 4.42 ERA.

His 2023 campaign was much better. Carson led the Ohio Athletic Conference in average (.419), home runs (12), and runs-batted-in (58). He had a 5-2 record and 1.87 ERA. 53 innings, 65 strikeouts.

Carson was comfortable in pinstripes after three years at Muskingum.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better two years,”

“It was possible. Everyone welcomed me immediately. It was great to win my position and become close to the guys. I’m always told it feels like I’ve been here five years. These two years have seemed like that to me. All the connections, many things I will never forget and treasure forever.”

Valentine is another Pioneers two-way player. In 2022, he went 14-1 with a 1.96 ERA to become the team’s starter. In 2023, the left-hander was 7-1 with a 3.48 ERA in a team-high 82 2-3 innings. Valentine played and batted well. He batted.2 HR, 27 RBIs, 314.

Brian Brewer praised Valentine’s “taxing” job as a two-way player.

“It’s great having a great group of guys with great families and things like that,” Cambridge High graduate Valentine said. It makes things easy and pleasant. A great coaching team makes it even easier. Losing stinks, but I’m losing with those folks. I’d rather lose to them.”

Sabatine started 11 games for the Pioneers in 2019, going 3-3 with a 4.34 ERA. Sabatine won nine games and was chosen All-OAC first team in 2021 after the 2020 season was suspended due to COVID-19.

The right-hander started 30 games and went 10-3 for Marietta the past two seasons.

In 2021, Busby played 23 games and started 12. .311 with 10 RBIs. Before beginning at shortstop this season, he played 19 games and started 10. Busby played solid defense and hit.278 in 37 starts.

The program will miss all four players, who contributed to its success.

Brewer called it the hardest part. Guys’ careers end. We’ve spoken a lot about losing so many talented players last year. The influence these four individuals have had on me, my life, my family, and this program is equally extraordinary. They’ve had a bigger influence on us winning and losing this year than people know. I don’t want this senior class’s small size to be understated—we’re not here without those four men.”

Marietta’s only other senior, Kail Hill, and many underclassmen who had breakout seasons this spring are likely to return.

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