Hofstra pitcher defies the odds to help his team advance to CAA Championship

HEMPSTEAD, Long Island (WABC) -- The Hofstra Pride wrapped up their regular season this weekend before heading to the CAA Championship - and they do so with a player who defied the odds to help his team.

In their first conference tournament since 2018 - Hofstra is on the verge of its first overall winning record in 10 years. First-year head coach and former major leaguer Frank Catalanotto says the confidence is high.

"I think everyone has kind of bought in - once we had them buy in, I feel like things have gone in the right direction," Catalanotto said.

For senior Mark Faello, the journey is personal. After his freshman year, he developed a lump on his neck -- and then the diagnosis of Stage 3 cancer.

Hofstra Pitcher Mark Faello says there is a lot of talent on the team this year.

"We went to a specialist, he took out one of the lymph nodes, and then it came back Hodgkin's Lymphoma," Faello said, "my dad, my mom - they were very very upset about it, torn to pieces, so I think that was probably the hardest part - was seeing my family struggle."

Before the 2019-2020 season, Faello's parents and some coaches wanted him to take time off to build strength ad heal, but he wanted to be around the team and attend every meeting - all with a PICC line in.

"If I was staying home not doing anything on the couch, playing video games, I just felt I wasn't going to get better," said Faello.

"For him, he was like 'no, baseball's important to me, my teammates are important to me - I want to be there,'" Catalanotto added.

Faello said his perspective on the mound changed since his diagnosis.

"I just think I enjoy every moment more," he said.

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Scott Williams has been counting and re-counting his blessings - three blessings to be exact.

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