Around The Horn With Crusader Baseball
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!
To see the full list of student-athletes competing in summer collegiate leagues, click here.
Click below to read a previous entry!
Inning One - Danny Barlok, Alex Gionis, Chris Rinaldi and Rob Stone
Inning Nine - Andrew Paraiso
Inning Nine - August 1, 2018
Andrew Paraiso - Seminole County Scorpions of the Florida Collegiate Summer League
This summer I had the opportunity to compete on the Seminole County Scorpions of the Florida Collegiate Summer League. The commute from my house to various stadiums ranged about an hour, which became habitual and very manageable after the first few games. My games are scheduled for 7:00 P.M. six days a week, with our rest day falling on Wednesdays. This schedule really allowed me to optimize my free time, permitting opportunities to lift and prepare for my academic ventures coming up in the fall.
Our coaching staff is composed of weathered veterans in the realm of collegiate baseball, whom I have learned a lot from in a short amount of time. I have also had the pleasure to compete alongside great players from nearly all levels of baseball - from larger Division I schools to smaller junior colleges. Competing on this very diverse team has set my perspective of what an honor it is to play college baseball. As we head into the final series of our regular season, I am excited to play with a chance to extend our season even further.
Over the course of the summer, I spent most of my time as a reliever while making a few starts. I have learned so much about the mental game and taking advantage of situations to get outs, which I am very excited to implement into my game in Worcester. I have learned many things about the game from my teammates, coaches and opponents that I actively use to sharpen myself on the playing field. It is an awesome opportunity to compete against hitters from all levels of baseball, especially older and more experienced players from notable Division I programs in Florida.
In conclusion, I am very grateful for the opportunities the Florida Collegiate Summer League has afforded me, and I am extremely excited to return to Worcester with a chip on my shoulder and a shot to compete for the Patriot League title!
Inning Eight - July 26, 2018
Zach Buck and Noah Luckenbaugh - Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League
This summer we have been playing in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League for the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts. While we have an hour-long commute from Virginia to Maryland for most of our games, we have both been able to live at home with our families during the season. Most weeks we play games six out of the seven days of the week with one off day on Tuesday. Despite our busy schedule, the majority of our games are played at 7:00 p.m., allowing us to have jobs and workout during the day.
Our team is made up of a mix of players from the D.C., Maryland and Virginia areas, as well as players from around the country and even Taiwan. We have players from great Division I conferences like the SEC as well as from junior colleges and other levels of college baseball. It has been an incredible opportunity to compete alongside and against players from all different backgrounds and we have been able to learn a ton from our teammates and coaches. In addition, Noah has had an opportunity to practice his Mandarin skills learned at Holy Cross to communicate with our three Taiwanese players. They have offered a lot of knowledge and a unique perspective on pitching and baseball as a whole.
Over the course of the season, Zach has spent time at catcher, first base and designated hitter, doing well enough to make the league’s All-Star team as a catcher. Noah has filled a number of different roles on the mound, spending time as both a reliever and a starter. We just concluded our 40-game regular season, getting a win in our very last game to clinch one of the league’s final playoff spots. We will have to win a play-in game to make it to the three-game semifinal series.
Overall, playing for the S.S.-T. Thunderbolts has been a great experience for both of us and we can’t wait to bring what we’ve learned back to Worcester and compete for a Patriot League title.
Inning Seven - July 16, 2018
Garrett Keough - Futures Collegeiate Baseball League
This summer I am playing in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League (FCBL) for the North Shore Navigators out of Fraser Field in Lynn, Mass. The FCBL is a seven-team league with organizations in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire. Luckily, I am able to live at home because the Navigators' field is located just 15 minutes from my house. The travel in the FCBL is pretty manageable, although we do have to take a ferry to Martha's Vineyard once every couple weeks to play a game out there. Additionally, one of the teams in the league, the Worcester Bravehearts, plays at Holy Cross. Having played all my home games at Fitton Field this past spring, it's a unique experience to play as the away team at my schools' home ballpark. The Bravehearts have four Crusaders on their roster, so it is fun to be able to reconnect with my teammates during summer ball even when we are wearing different uniforms.
The FCBL has been a great developmental baseball environment. Each pitching outing is a great chance to compete against talented players from schools all over the country. Many ACC and SEC schools send their younger players to the FCBL, so facing these hitters has made pitching a challenge and helped prepared me for our tough slate of games next spring.
Playing for the Navigators has been a very enjoyable experience. We draw a few thousand fans during Friday and Saturday night home games which creates a great atmosphere at Fraser Field. Additionally, engaging in the on-field promotions gives our players a chance to connect with some of our fans. Our team has also participated in a few community outreach events which have given us a great opportunity to give back to the city of Lynn. We will also be hosting a youth baseball camp next week which should definitely be a rewarding experience.
Although some players on my team live far away from the home of the Navigators, many of my teammates are local. Being from the area, I played against many of these kids in high school; playing for the Navigators this summer has given me a chance to get to know these guys personally instead of as competitors. Our team has great camaraderie, and even though we did not start the season as we had hoped, we have been playing well in the past few weeks. We are a gritty team and we're hoping to play well enough in the last few weeks of the season to earn a spot in the FCBL playoffs.
Overall, playing for the Navigators has been a great experience. I have been working hard to improve as a pitcher, and I hope that my work this summer will help us bring the Patriot League Championship trophy back to Worcester in 2019!
Inning Six - July 10, 2018
Liam Dvorak and Alex Volpi (Hamptons Collegiate League)
Liam Dvorak - Long Island Road Warriors
This summer I am playing for the Long Island Road Warriors, part of the Hamptons Collegiate League. It has been a tremendous experience thus far, not only because of the competition, but also because of the opportunity it has given me to stay at home and work out with people who have helped me grow over the past few years. The Hamptons Collegiate League has been continuing to grow and garner new interest from players across the country. I’ve been able to compete against players from Florida, to Texas, and even California. The talent in this league has really helped to sharpen my skills and force me to work even harder. Being apart of the Road Warriors has also been a unique experience. It is only the team’s second year in the league, and we are composed of all college players who live on Long Island. This has allowed me to hear about the experiences and adjustments that were made by players whom I’ve either played with, or against, over the years, and how they were able to compete at other top programs across the nation. This also lends itself to great team chemistry, providing for some enjoyable and competitive baseball. A big component of the league is the community service that the players partake in. Whether it be volunteering in local communities or for organizations created to help those in need, this has been a major component in my summer ball experience. Particularly the chance it gave me to volunteer for the League of Yes, an organization designed to help kids with special needs stay active while doing so through baseball. This was a tremendous experience and only a portion of what the Hamptons League has allowed me to do. This summer has been a great opportunity for learning from other players and has made me much more excited to get back and play for Crusaders this year.
Alex Volpi - Shelter Island Bucks
This summer I have been playing in the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League for the Shelter Island Bucks. The Hamptons League is composed of seven teams and has provided me with many opportunities to grow as a player and person. I have been fortunate enough to be able to play against great competition, playing with and against guys from all over the country and the world. I have been able to make great connections with my teammates and coaches and developed relationships that will last for years to come.
Living and playing on Shelter Island has been a unique experience to say the least. Because it is an island, we take a ferry to all of our away games which is something no other team in the league has to do. Though it adds some time to our travels, it has become one of the many enjoyable parts of living on the island. Shelter Island’s population is approximately 2,500 which surprisingly, is smaller than the student population at Holy Cross. It is an incredibly tight knit community and it has been unbelievably rewarding to be able to become part of it. From running youth camps at our home field, manning water stations for the annual 10k race, to helping out at the local library, the Bucks have been able to give back to the community in many ways. The people living on the island are tremendous supporters of the team and almost always fill the stands at our home games. The community provides us with post game meals and the host families make it possible for Shelter Island to be home to one of the top organizations in the HCBL.
I have been fortunate enough to have been invited to participate in the home run derby as well as the all-star game which will take place at Baseball Heaven. It has been great being able to develop as a player with the help of my teammates and coaches. Through early work before our games and practices on our off days, our team has been able to work toward achieving both individual and team goals. I am looking forward to finishing out the remainder of the season strong and helping the Bucks make a push for a spot in the playoffs! I can’t wait to get back to the Hill to be with my teammates as we work toward winning the Patriot League Championship in 2019!
Inning Five - July 5, 2018
Evan Blum, Kyle Johnson and Jared Enders (Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League)
Evan Blum and Kyle Johnson - Rockville Express
This summer we are playing for the Rockville Express in the Cal Ripken League in Maryland. We are both able to live at home this summer, as we only live 15 minutes from our home field and the farthest we travel is no more than an hour and a half away. Our team plays around six to seven games a week, completing 40 games in 45 days. Most games start at 7:00 p.m., which means we arrive to the field by 4:30 unless we are playing a doubleheader when the games are at 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Since the games are played at night we have extra time to work, lift and get any other tasks done before arriving at the field.
We are about halfway through our season and have both developed big roles for our team , as we sit in third place in our division and hold one of the wild card spots. We have met new players from all over the country and even around the world who play at all different levels in college. There are four players that were born in the Dominican Republic, as well as three players from Taiwan. Kyle has been given the opportunity on the mound in a relief position and has seen some action hitting too, as well as learning Mandarin and making new friends when he is not playing. Evan has seen action behind the plate, at first base and been the designated hitter for a couple of games too. There is a lot to learn about yourself when you are around new people and the feedback you get from not only our coaches, but our fellow teammates, has made us better players and people on and off the field. We also enjoy playing against past and present teammates, including Jared Enders, Noah Luckenbaugh and Zach Buck as they compete in the Cal Ripken League too!
We are working hard to improve our game this summer and hope to contribute a lot to next year’s 2019 Patriot League Championship team!
Jared Enders - Loudoun Riverdogs
This summer I am back playing in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League for the Loudoun Riverdogs. Since the league is based in Northern Virginia and Maryland, I am able to live at home while still playing a tough schedule with 40 games in 45 days. This is a great luxury to have during summer ball so I am still able to intern and workout at the same gym I grew up in, among numerous other perks. For me, the coolest part of summer ball is meeting new guys from all different walks of life. Some are more similar to mine and some are very different. This makes every day a fun experience, and since we are playing with guys from all over the country with different personalities, it gets pretty entertaining. Since the league is full of players from all over the country, there are a lot of guys from big-time conferences such as the ACC and SEC. Playing against them every night is a challenge and really helps me stay locked in. While it can be a grind at times, it’s always great to stay loose and play care-free while still playing very high-level baseball, which is what I love the most about summer ball in the CRCBL.
Inning Four - June 27, 2018
Riley Livingston (Long Beach Legends - Sunset Baseball League)
This summer, I’m playing for the Long Beach Legends in the Sunset Baseball League in Southern California. The Sunset League has been growing in strength the past couple of seasons, expanding its competition by acquiring teams and players from its competitor, the California Collegiate League. We play a 45- game schedule throughout June and July, with 25 league games and 20 non-league contests. Our home field is at Long Beach City College, which is about a 30 minute drive from where I live. To start the season, we had an opening trip up to San Francisco, where we played two games against a top NorCal team as well as going to an Oakland A’s game. We also play five league games against a team from San Diego, so there’s a few road trips that we take as a team. It has been a great experience being able to live at home for the summer, allowing me to enjoy the nice weather and my beach town in Southern California.
For a typical home game, I arrive at the field by 2:00 p.m. We take batting practice as a team, followed by field preparation for our games that start at 4:30 p.m. I’ve enjoyed playing with my new teammates, and our instant team chemistry has propelled us to an undefeated record in league play after the first three weeks of the summer season. We’ve also held fundraisers with barbecues both during and after some home games, which has made us a more cohesive group. I’m glad that I’m able to be a part of a southern California organization for the summer to develop further as a baseball player, and I am stoked to head back to Worcester in a few months and get back to work with my teammates to win the Patriot League Championship in 2019!
Inning Three - June 20, 2018
Declan Cronin, Austin Masel and Pat McGowan (Falmouth Commodores - Cape Cod Baseball League)
This summer we are privileged to be a part of the Falmouth Commodores in the prestigious Cape Cod Baseball League. For all of us, joining the cape league has been a dream that we have worked incredibly hard to achieve and we are beyond grateful for the opportunity. For years, the best players in the country have traveled to play in this league, and many have gone on to reach the majors. This year is no different, as evidenced by the level of play we have experienced in our first full week on the Cape. Our head coach, Jeff Trundy, is entering his 20th season with the Commodores and possesses one of the greatest minds that college baseball has to offer. Our day usually begins around 3:00 p.m. for a 6:00 p.m. home game at Guv Fuller Field in Falmouth, Mass. Attendance has been great thus far, with both local Falmouth fans and an increasing number of vacationers packing the stands. We have all contributed innings for the Commodores. Pat has earned a spot in the starting rotation, Declan has been leaned on from the bullpen and Austin has started at multiple positions in the outfield.
Many former Holy Cross players have excelled with the Commodores in previous seasons and we hope to continue that trend this summer. Our host families have been incredibly welcoming, as they have taken us into their homes for the summer. They are what helps to make this league the best there is. The three of us have also been working as part of the field crew team that preps our field on the mornings before home games. On off days, we can go to the beach and explore other parts of the Cape. We are all excited to continue our development as players while in the cape league this summer. While our sights are set on bringing a CCBL championship to Falmouth, we are eager to return to Holy Cross with the goal of winning the Patriot League Championship in 2019.
Inning Two - June 13, 2018
David Kale and Andrew Selima
Kale (SKD Aces - Hudson Valley Collegiate Baseball League)
This summer I am playing for the SKD Aces in the Hudson Valley Collegiate Baseball League. I’m lucky enough to be able to live at home for the season, as our home field is within a twenty minute drive. My team plays around five games a week which, usually start at 6:00 p.m. This has given me plenty of time off the field to work and pursue other passions of mine.
Though our season has just begun, my experience thus far has been great. I have really enjoyed meeting new players and getting to talk to them about our shared experiences as college baseball athletes. It’s inspiring how motivated the guys are to improve their game and I’ve found there’s a lot to learn from each of them. Our coaching staff has also been exceptional, as they have provided nothing but meaningful feedback and are devoted to the development of each player. After just a short period of time, I find myself with new close friends and have reconnected with some of my old teammates who are playing in the league as well. It has been a stellar overall experience thus far and I am super excited to continue to compete and take my game to new levels before I return to Holy Cross this fall.
Selima (Lexington Blue Sox - Intercity Baseball League)
This year I am playing for the Lexington Blue Sox of the Intercity League in Lexington, Mass. We have just begun our season and I could not be more excited for what lies ahead. Four times a week I have the privilege of traveling down to Lexington and playing under the lights with awesome teammates and a few Holy Cross alumni. We are lucky enough to be coached by the great Holy Cross alumnus Rick DeAngelis ‘70, and I feel grateful to play with both Alex Voitik ‘17 (an energetic person, a skilled hitter and a fantastic teammate) and Thomas Russo ‘18 (a solid defender, a smooth hitter and a wonderful mentor).
Last year, the Blue Sox capped off the season with their third-straight InterCity League Championship. As the season is just getting underway, I am so excited to be playing and helping them defend that championship. Currently, I am playing both first base and right field. This past weekend, we had the fortuitous opportunity to play the Cotuit Kettleers of the Cape Cod Baseball League in an exhibition game...supporting Pete Frates and raising awareness for ALS. For me, this was one of the best experiences of my life. Not only did we help raise money for Pete and ALS research, we also got to face some of the best pitchers and hitters in the country.
Overall, I love my team and I am excited to get to know them more. As Coach DeAngelis always reminds us, and in the words of Pete Frates, ”Get to know each other, trust each other, and play for each other.” Upon concluding our Blue Sox season in August, I know I will be well-prepared and eager to return to Holy Cross when we begin our journey of capturing yet another Patriot League Championship in 2019!
Inning One - June 6, 2018
Danny Barlok, Alex Gionis, Chris Rinaldi and Rob Stone (Worcester Bravehearts - Futures Collegiate Baseball League)
In the summer of 2018, we are playing as members of the Worcester Bravehearts, who play in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League. We all live relatively close to the field in our off-campus houses instead of with a host family. The Bravehearts play a long 57 games, but their home field is Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field where the first few home games have garnered nearly 3,000 people each night. The city of Worcester is hosting the Bravehearts for the fifth consecutive year now as the team seeks its third championship. On the first day when the players arrived, the owners of the Bravehearts, the General Manager, and coaches all treated the players and their host families to a cookout to show their appreciation for the players and their expectations of an FCBL Championship. They also gave the players several tickets to home games to handout to family members and friends, as well as access to a place to receive physical therapy and work out.
The first few days as a team consisted of short practices including throwing, hitting and fielding in order for new players to become accustomed to playing at Fitton Field. It’s awesome to become friends with other athletes who play throughout the country for different schools. For our first few home games we have arrived at the ballpark around 3:00 p.m., got changed, had our daily pitchers/hitters meeting, stretched, thrown, then caught fly balls or taken batting practice. This usually ends around 5:00 p.m. We then normally go back to the clubhouse as a team where we eat and relax until game time at 7:05 p.m. The game atmosphere has been incredible for our first few home games, in which a couple thousand people have gathered at Fitton Field. The owners of the organization truly meant it when they said that we would be treated like big leaguers. Little kids line the bullpen and seats near the dugouts asking for autographs and high-fives from players at any chance they get.
Our experience with the Worcester Bravehearts has been great thus far and we cannot wait to see what else will unfold for our team throughout the summer.