In a season where Justin Marra suffered a devasting personal loss, the Toronto Maple Leafs catcher/infielder courageously battled through the adversity on the baseball field.
Even after the death of his father, Lou, in early July, Marra continued to be a force with a bat and those efforts were recognized Sept. 12 when he was named the Intercounty Baseball League’s Most Valuable Player for 2018.
The power hitter received 28 first-place votes, well ahead of Barrie Baycats third baseman Kevin Atkinson who finished second with 17 votes.
In his third season with the club, the former Chicago Cubs prospect slashed .353/.453/.690/1.143 batting at the top of the Leafs order. He added a team-leading 10 home runs and 31 RBI and placed in the top five in several of the league’s offensive categories.
Marra, who was also named an IBL First-Team All-Star, wasn’t the only Toronto player to win a league award. Rookie outfielder Garret Takamatsu was named the IBL Rookie of the Year.
This marks the second-straight season a Leafs player has bagged the award, with outfielder Zac Orchard taking the honours last season.
Takamatsu was a force at the plate, slashing .320/.391.437/.828 with one home run and 17 RBI. His nine doubles tied Marra for the team lead.
The former Ontario Blue Jays player finished with 22 votes, two more than Brantford Red Sox rookie third baseman David Mendham.
Marra’s brother, Dan, was also recognized by the IBL with the second baseman being named a Second Team All-Star. Dan finished with a .364 batting average, hit three doubles and drove in 10 runs while stealing nine bases.
Barrie led the league with five all-stars.
FIRST TEAM ALL-STARS
C: Justin Marra, Toronto
1B: Jordan Castaldo, Barrie
2B: Kevin Atkinson, Barrie
SS: Yorbis Borroto, Kitchener
3B: David Mendham, Brantford
OF: Justin Gideon, Burlington
OF: Ryan Spataro, Barrie
OF: Vaughn Bryan, Burlington
DH: Sean Reilly, Guelph
RHP: Emills Guerrero, Barrie
LHP: Frank Garces, Barrie
MGR: Dean Castelli, Hamilton
SECOND TEAM ALL-STARS
C: Mike Gordner, Kitchener
1B: Grant Arnold, Hamilton
2B: Dan Marra, Toronto
SS- Chris Beer, Hamilton
3B: Colin Gordner, Kitchener
OF: Tanner Nivins, Kitchener
OF: RJ Fuhr, London
OF: Josh Garton, Guelph
RHP: Yunior Yambatis, Guelph, Starlin Peralta, London
LHP: Chris Lazar, Hamilton
MGR: Dave teBoekhorst, Guelph
PHOTO: Toronto Maple Leafs catcher Justin Marra was named the 2018 Intercounty Baseball League Most Valuable Player on Sept. 12th. The Leafs slugger finished with 28 votes, well ahead of the 17 votes collected by runnerup Kevin Atkinson of the Barrie Baycats. ERIN RILEY PHOTO