|Mason Summer Baseball Wrap-Up|
Every summer, college baseball players are placed on teams all over the country in wood bat leagues that are made up of college players from schools from every conference.
This past summer, members of the George Mason Baseball team were placed as far north as Vermont and as far south as Pompano Beach, Florida. Wood bat leagues allow players to refine and showcase their skills in front of professional scouts in preparation for the next season.
The prestigious Cape Cod Summer League hosts the elite players from all over the country, including perennial powerhouses like the University of South Carolina, UCLA, and the University of Florida. The Cape was the summer home of junior pitchers Anthony Montefusco and Jake Kalish. Montefusco pitched for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox and netted an ERA of 4.32, while amassing nine strikeouts. Kalish pitched and played outfield for the Brewster Whitecaps, where he compiled a 2-3 record with 17 strikeouts over 18.1 innings of work. He also locked down one save in Brewster's 6-4 win over Chatham on June 27th. Kalish had 10 hits at the plate, including three doubles and two home runs while driving in five runs.
The Coastal Plains League is comprised of 14 teams located in Southern Virginia, North and South Carolina. The CPL boasts alums such as Justin Verlander, Ryan Zimmerman and Kevin Youkilis. Junior 3B/OF Blaise Fernandez spent his summer playing for the Edenton Steamers in Edenton, N.C. Fernandez batted .279 with five home runs and 29 RBI's. He started 41 of 42 games and notched 41 hits and scored 29 runs while helping lead the Steamers to a first-place finish in the regular season.
The Cal Ripken League is a local league with teams located all around the Beltway. Junior right-handed pitcher Michael Bowie and incoming freshman shortstop Brandon Gum played for the Southern Maryland Nationals, while junior catcher Tucker Tobin played for the Bethesda Big Train. Bowie compiled a 2-1 record with a 3.92 ERA in eight starts. He was named a league All Star, and fired an inning of scoreless relief during the All Star Game. Playing alongside Bowie with the Nationals, incoming freshman Brandon Gum tallied 10 hits and eight RBI's. Fellow Patriot Tucker Tobin smacked three home runs and drove in 14 RBI's while handling much of the catching duties for the Bethesda Big Train. The Big Train lost the championship game 4-3 to the Baltimore Red Birds, but finished with an impressive 25-16 record.
The Mason baseball program routinely sends players to the Valley Baseball League in the Shenandoah Valley, and this summer was no different. Sophomore pitcher John Williams and junior pitcher Neight Hoffa called the Valley home this summer, as did former outfielder and team leader Dan Schafferman, who spent the summer as an assistant coach with the Woodstock River Bandits. Williams enjoyed a very successful summer campaign for the Haymarket Senators, earning a 3-3 record with a 3.67 ERA and 56 strikeouts. He was rewarded for his fine summer season by being named to the Valley Baseball League All-Star Game. Hoffa pitched for the New Market Rebels and was one of their most reliable bullpen arms. The junior right-handed pitcher led the team with 18 appearances and rang up 27 strikeouts.
Senior Nick Allen and juniors Josh Leemhuis and Sean Cabrera spent their summer playing for the Pompano Beach Clippers of the South Florida Summer Collegiate Baseball League. The Clippers finished with a record of 17-8-2, good for first place in the regular season, and the three Patriots were key contributors. Allen hit .328 with three triples, one home run, 13 RBI's and 10 stolen bases. Leemhuis batted .286 with 16 RBI's and eight stolen bases. Cabrera pitched 21.1 innings of relief and tallied 28 strikeouts with an efficient 1.66 ERA.
Jordan Hill spent his summer in the Hamptons playing for the Westhampton Aviators of the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League. The junior shortstop hit two home runs and drove in 12 runs in 26 games.
Chris Cook was the northernmost Patriot this summer, playing for the Vermont Mountaineers. Competing in the highly competitive New England Collegiate Baseball League, Cook batted .256 with 13 stolen bases.
Sophomore catcher Ray Toto played alongside incoming freshmen Cory Capaldi and Mark Maksimow on the Philly Bandits, a 20U team who played their games around the greater Philadelphia area, while sophomore Andrew Sable spent his summer in the Myrtle Beach Collegiate Summer League playing for the Myrtle Beach Marauders.
Sophomore Tommy Vitaletti and Junior Nick Kendrick stayed in their hometowns for the summer and played for local teams. Vitaletti played in Williamsburg, Va. and Kendrick played in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Chris O'Grady and Brandon Kuter were both selected in the 2012 MLB Draft and have begun their professional careers. O'Grady was selected in the 10th round by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and Kuter was selected by the Texas Rangers in the 29th round. O'Grady is pitching for Angels' short season team, the Orem Owlz of the Pioneer League. The left-hander has made seven relief appearances, throwing 7.2 innings of work. O'Grady has netted a record of 2-1 for the Owlz while striking out eight.
Kuter is pitching for the Texas Rangers Rookie League team in the Arizona League. The hard throwing right-hander has amassed an ERA of 1.46 and 12 strikeouts in 11.1 innings of work.