Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

After Strong Summer, Rubino Is Headed for North Carolina

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

After Strong Summer, Rubino Is Headed for North Carolina

Article excerpt

North Carolina has always held a special place in Matt Rubino's heart.

A son of a colonel in the United States Marine Corps., Rubino was born in Morehead, N.C., and spent most of his younger years moving from one place to another before settling in Beaver County for his last two years of high school.

A 2011 graduate of Hopewell High School, Rubino was one the WPIAL's best power-hitting baseball players during his junior and senior seasons. Although he originally committed to Pitt, Rubino opted for the junior college route and recently earned a Division I baseball scholarship to the University of North Carolina.

"Matt has matured a great bit, and that's coming from me as a coach and his uncle," Hopewell baseball coach Joe Rubino said. "He graduated high school at 17, so he was a little young. This past year, especially being out on his own, helped him grow up.

"The maturity part helped him become a better player. He's very good and I've seen him have the ability to hit at every level."

A left-handed hitting catcher/infielder/outfielder, the younger Rubino played a fall semester for Lackawanna College in Scranton before transferring to Florence-Darlington Tech in Florence, S.C., in the spring.

Rubino batted .340 with nine home runs and a team-high 40 RBIs for Florence-Darlington Tech. He also set a school record with 19 doubles and earned first team all-region honors, helping the Stingers to a school-record 40 wins and a second regular-season regional championship.

Rubino plans to compete at either catcher or second base for the Tar Heels.

"Those are two holes they have to fill and I know I'll be able to compete for either of those spots," said Rubino, who also was recruited by South Carolina. "I'm looking forward to playing for North Carolina and playing in the ACC."

Rubino traveled back to Beaver County this summer and has played a valuable role for Hopewell's American Legion team.

"Matt can be as good of a player as he wants to be," Hopewell Legion manager Dave Denniston said. "He's an intense player with a lot of power and a lot of skill.

"He solidifies our team. …

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