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Standing under the lights of Latham Baseball Park, infielder Carlos Marte couldn’t help but reflect on how he got there. From front yard games of catch in the Dominican Republic to the NCAA, Marte credited his Dominican upbringing with introducing baseball into his life. He views his sport as a way of closer connecting with his culture. 

“It’s kind of what we're known for,” Marte said. “I’m just proud to be a Dominican and a baseball player.” 

Picking up a bat for the first time with his dad at the age of four was just the beginning. Upon coming to the United States two years later, Marte was exposed to new opportunities, and made the switch from front yard games of catch to little league fields — and the rest, he says, is history. 

Marte’s father planted the sport into his life, continuing to support him as he pursued baseball.To him, it was almost like a tradition being passed down. Since his very first practice,  Marte remembered consistent encouragement to do whatever necessary to accomplish his goals. 

“My dad has just always been my biggest support,” Marte said, “He’s the one that got me into it.”

Marte noted the role his childhood coaches have played in his personal development as well. The lessons he’s learned from his mentors go beyond just gameplay. He acknowledged how the advice he has accumulated over the years has contributed to his growth as an individual, as well as a player. 

“Some of my coaches have been with me for 15 years,” Marte said, “Here, my coaches have just pushed me to be better, especially at this level.”

Marte continued his career throughout high school, trying out for the All American team twice, and furthered his career at Union County College in New Jersey before transferring to Elon in his junior year. The decision to make the move to Elon and enter the collegiate level, Marte said, was an easy one. 

“Coming to Elon is my probably biggest accomplishment,” Marte said, “I’ve always had in the back of my mind that I wanted to play in college” 

Since coming to Elon, Marte has improved significantly, despite COVID-19 cutting his first season short. Head coach Mike Kennedy has noticed Marte’s development as he’s watched him gained confidence in himself and his abilities. 

“His first year, last year, he was very quiet,” Kennedy said, “Now, there’s a noticeable difference. He’s talking and communicating with teammates more.”

Like many child athletes, Marte idolized professional players. Specifically, he looked up to Alex Rodriguez, a Dominican playing for the Yankees. Seeing remnants of himself in Rodriguez, Marte found himself fantasizing about the player he could grow to be.

“When I started watching baseball he kind of motivated me to want to be like him,” Marte said. 

Alongside his interest in baseball, Marte recognized the impact of his background on his personal values and identity. Coming from the Dominican Republic, he has gained a sense of humility and gratitude. As a child he witnessed hardship on a daily basis, and recalled the struggle to find food, work and housing in the nation. 

Marte also noticed the lack of freedom in the DR, and from a young age was aware of the value of hard work and self-reliance. Upon his arrival in the United States, Marte carried these ideals with him, eager to take advantage of the new opportunities he was exposed to. 

“People here have it a lot easier than over there,” Marte said. “So when I came here I just didn’t want to take anything for granted.”

Despite adversity, Marte looks at his background with pride, remembering a childhood of family functions consisting of baseball and, his personal favorite, Dominican cuisine.

“We’re very family oriented, “ Marte said. “We would always do family barbecues, that's our biggest thing.”

Marte’s hardworking demeanor and optimistic attitude has not gone unnoticed. Kennedy acknowledges that it’s all paying off, and expects him to be an asset both offensively and defensively. 

“He’s very focused,” Kennedy said. “Nothing seems to phase him.”

Marte said he believes the opportunities he’s been exposed to in the United States have contributed greatly to his successes and diligent demeanor. The encouragement he has received from his coaches and teammates has helped him to increase his confidence as a player and individual. 

He said that resilience and determination have been vital throughout his career as a student athlete. Dedicating roughly 28 hours a week to the game, Marte acknowledges that balancing school and baseball is not an easy task, but it always pays off. 

“I think number one is to just have a passion for baseball. You’re going to fail more than you’ll succeed,” Marte said.