Around The Horn With Crusader Baseball

Holy Cross Athletics   06-20-2017

This is a blog featuring entries from Holy Cross baseball student-athletes who are competing in summer leagues across the country. Check back every week throughout the summer for the latest updates from the Crusaders to hear about their experiences!

Click below to jump to a previous entry!
Inning Four - Danny Barlok
Inning Three - Jared Enders
Inning Two - Declan Cronin and Ben White
Inning One - Cam O'Neil

Inning Five - July 18, 2017

Austin Masel (North Shore Navigators - Futures Collegiate Baseball League)

This summer I began playing for the Pittsfield Suns in the FCBL, but due to the roster size, I was able to get a spot with the North Shore Navigators. Being a part of the Navs has been a great experience even though I've only been able to play one game with the team. Unfortunately, I've been hurt the last three weeks of the summer. However, being at the field in front of about 1000 to 2000 fans a night creates a great atmosphere to play baseball. Even though I'm not on the field, I enjoy coming down to the games every night. Typically, we arrive at the field at 4:00 for batting practice and play at 7:00 at home. Lynn is about 30 minutes to an hour away from almost every field, so the bus rides are great. Our team is currently three games back from .500 leaving room for a playoff push at the end of the season, in which I’ll take part.

Since I was able to switch teams, I've been able to live at home which is 15 minutes from Lynn, Mass. where the Navs play. Living in the north shore is awesome because you have Boston 15 minutes away from the park while having beaches up and down the coast and some even in Lynn. The guys on the team are great and create a relaxing atmosphere to play and have fun, while improving our skills. Being able to live at home has been terrific because I've been able to spend time with friends that I haven't seen since January. Overall being a part of the Navs has been a great experience and I can't wait to get back on the field and compete.

Inning Four - July 12, 2017
Danny Barlok (Keene Swamp Bats - New England Collegiate Baseball League)

This summer I am playing with the Keene Swamp Bats in the NECBL. Keene is a small town located in New Hampshire, about an hour and a half from my house and Holy Cross.  So far, my experience here has been awesome. Although I arrived a few days late due to our playoff push, I still have been fortunate enough to meet a great group of guys who come from all across the country. Being part of a great organization and a great league has been a blast for me so far this summer.

At this point in the summer, we are just about halfway through our season. My team is around .500 and in a good position to make a playoff run in the remaining games. We play our games at Alumni Field at Keene High School which, luckily for me, is only a few minutes down the road from my host house. Typically for a home game we report around 3:45, but for away games we meet the bus much earlier depending on how far the drive is. A typical week consists of about six games and one off day. I have been fortunate to find a job that I work in the mornings a few times a week before I head to the gym and eat before reporting to the field. The majority of our games begin at 6:30, and continue into the night. Being able to play under the lights everyday has made for a fun and competitive atmosphere. The fans in Keene are extremely loyal, and we usually get around 1,000 each game.  During our July 3 game we had nearly 5,000 people come and support us. Being able to play in such a great spot with such a great atmosphere has made this summer unforgettable. 

The season has flown by so far, and has been a great learning and growing experience for me. I look forward to finishing up the season here and returning back to Holy Cross ready to defend our Patriot League title.

Inning Three - July 5, 2017
Jared Enders (Loudoun Riverdogs - Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League)

This summer I’m playing for the Loudoun Riverdogs in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League. I am able to live at home which is a nice luxury to have during a demanding 40 game summer ball schedule, and it also allows me to work baseball camps in the mornings. Since I’m playing around the area I grew up, I am now playing against a lot of the guys I used to face in high school, along with some I used to play alongside, that are also playing college ball which is one of the cool parts of summer ball. The days can get long at times but playing with a bunch of awesome guys from states all along the east coast makes it a lot more enjoyable. 

We have been playing well all season and are on pace to make the playoffs in our division of the league. Playing with a lot of kids from schools in conferences like the ACC and SEC makes winning every game tough, but as long as we keep playing like we have been then we’ll be in a good spot. Our coach is a big part in our success and has one of the highest baseball IQs that I have ever seen. He does a great job prepping us to play every day and makes sure we always stay loose so we play our best. I’m excited for the rest of the season and hope to help lead the ‘dogs to their first CRCBL title in a few years!

Inning Two - June 27, 2017
Declan Cronin and Ben White (Plymouth Pilgrims - New England Collegiate Baseball League)

Playing in Plymouth in the NECBL has been incredible so far. Even though we arrived a little bit after most of the other players because we were in Corvallis, we both realized quickly that Plymouth was going to be a great summer ball destination. Everything from the level of talent to the organization and our teammates makes playing for the Pilgrims great.

Enjoying his second summer ball stint in Plymouth, Ben has naturally filled his starting role in the rotation well. As a returning player; he is the team veteran, a reliable arm and a father-figure to the squad. Although I did not initially believe him, I can now confirm that he is in fact “the man in Plymouth.” Ben, along with a catcher from UNC, lives with a great host family around 15-20 minutes from the field.

While Ben has his spot in the starting rotation, I have found my place in the back end of the Pilgrims bullpen. I am extremely lucky to be with Ben this summer, as he knows the ins and outs of how to get the most out of a summer with the Plymouth Pilgrims. I do not, however, live in Plymouth. Instead, I live with another pitcher from Babson College in his family's Cape house in Bourne, right across the canal. We live a block from the beach, which makes the 40-45-minute trip to the gym and field every day worth it.

A typical day for us starts with getting up and making a hearty breakfast. Then we head to the gym to lift together before going back to his house to eat lunch, make protein shakes and relax before we head to the field. For home games, we don't report until 4:00 p.m. On the other hand, away game report times for the bus vary greatly due to the different distances we travel in the NECBL. For the short trip to New Bedford, we report at 3:30 p.m., but a trip up to Vermont calls for a 1:00 p.m. departure.

Although we have only been in Plymouth for a short time, it feels like we've been here much longer because of how close our team has become. So far, our season has consisted of five losses sandwiched by three and four-game winning streaks on either side. Summer ball is a marathon rather than a sprint, and we've learned early that keeping an even keel is essential. We certainly can't wait to see what the rest of the summer has in store for the Pilgrims and both of us. While Ben will take this experience with him wherever he chooses to continue his baseball career, I eagerly await heading back to Worcester to begin preparing for the defense of our Patriot League Championship with the rest of the returning team.

Inning One - June 20, 2017
Cam O'Neill (Falmouth Commodores - Cape Cod Baseball League)

I am lucky enough to be able to start this summer playing for the Falmouth Commodores of the Cape Cod Baseball League. Growing up in Massachusetts and coming to Cape League games as a kid has made being a member of the Commodores a dream come true. We have only played a few games thus far, but the atmosphere as well as the quality of baseball has been amazing. I've gotten some good playing time so far and I hope it continues during our run to a CCBL Championship. 

With Brendan (King), Anthony (Critelli) , George (Capen) and Jon (Escobar) all solidifying Holy Cross as a legitimate baseball school with their performances here last summer, I hope to continue that as we move forward this season. 

Since I've been here, I have been living with an awesome host family, the Lang's. The incredible families who are willing to take in players like us for the summer are truly what allows the league to succeed. Without them, the summer leagues probably would not exist. While some of my favorite memories have been made during summer ball, I am very excited to get back to school and begin preparation for my final season at Holy Cross.




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