We have been quiet this summer, busy with other endeavors and soaking up the sun. However, many NESCAC baseball players have spent the summer playing ball, often in the highly competitive collegiate leagues that feature Division One players and future high draft picks. Overall we found less NESCAC players in top-tier leagues this summer, but the numbers tend to fluctuate year-to-year. We focus on the New England summer leagues here, but leave a comment about any other players we missed and we will make sure to give them recognition.
Cape Cod League
Bourne Braves Pitcher Gavin Pittore ’16 (Wesleyan): The only player from the NESCAC on a Cape League team at this stage of July, no NESCAC player has had a better summer than Pittore. After finishing the NESCAC season with a 1.53 ERA, Pittore has carried over his success to the Cape League which is widely considered the best summer league in the country and is littered with future MLB first round draft picks. A year ago he spent the season on the Harwich Mariners but pitched sparingly. This summer he has become a vital part of the Braves bullpen with 10 appearances so far. Incredibly Pittore is yet to allow an earned run over 14.2 IP. He has struck out 17 batters and has a WHIP of 0.75. That success has rocketed Pittore into prominence among scouts so much so that even though he didn’t get drafted last month, he might sign with an MLB team soon and forego his senior year at Wesleyan.
— Bourne Braves (@BourneBraves) July 13, 2015
New England Collegiate Baseball League
Valley Blue Sox Pitcher Connor Colombo ’16 (Bates): This spring was a breakout campaign for the tall Bates right-hander, and Colombo has proven that his performance wasn’t a fluke with solid pitching this summer. In 24.2 IP, he owns a 3.28 ERA in what is considered by many the second-best college baseball summer leageu. Colombo has acted as both a starter and long reliever in his six appearances, and he has a 1-1 record. Though he has only struck out 11 batters, Colombo has done a good job of keeping the ball in the park and not allowing too many hard hit balls. He also is the only player in the NESCAC who has managed to stick on an NECBL team this summer which is a much lower number than in past years.
Seacoast Mavericks Outfielder Ryder Arsenault ’17 (Colby): After another successful spring for the Mules, Arsenault has received extensive playing time for the Mavericks. However, this has been a difficult summer for Arsenault who now sits well below the Mendoza line with a .183 batting average. A recent slump has really torpedoed his statistics as he was hitting a much more respectable .250 on June 24. Still, Arsenault has been able to see a lot of pitches at a high level of baseball, and it is also possible that he is dealing with an injury since he has not stolen one base after snagging 20 this past spring.
North Shore Navigators Pitchers Speros Varinos ’17 (Tufts), Tim Superko ’17 (Tufts), and Rob DiFranco ’16 (Bates): We do a three-for-one for a Navigators staff that relies heavily on all three NESCAC pitchers. Relievers Varinos and DiFranco are first and third on the team in ERA with a 1.74 and 2.18 respectively. Starter Superko has started six games and owns a sporty 2.57 ERA. DiFranco started the season in the Cape League, but he has returned to the Navigators for his third season there where he has bounced back from a subpar conference season this spring. Varinos has not had an opportunity to get much shine behind all the other stars for Tufts, but he has been excellent this summer coming out of the bullpen and earned a spot on the Futures League All-Star team. Finally, Superko has looked good as a starter. One concern for Superko is that his walk rate is still way to high. He has a whopping 24 walks in only 28 innings.
North Shore Navigators First Baseman Chad Martin ’16 (Bowdoin): Martin has been pretty much the same player he was this spring but with less power. He has benefited from playing every day as he leads the Navigators in at bats with 148, more than he had all spring. Hitting in the middle of the lineup has provided Martin plenty of opportunities to drive runs in and he is second on the team with 23 RBIs while batting .291. Martin has been especially hot lately with multiple hits in his four of his last five games and at least one hit in eight of his last nine.
Brockton Rox Pitcher Andrew David ’16 (Tufts) and Martha’s Vineyard Sharks Zach Brown ’18 (Tufts): Both of these Tufts pitchers are going to be at the All-Star game tonight (it’s in Lynn if anyone is interested!) along with Varinos meaning the Jumbos have a full triumvirate on the squad. For David, this summer has been a continuation of a bounce back spring for him in the NESCAC. The key has been a newfound ability to strike guys out, and he has 25 Ks in 31 innings to propel him to a 2.32 ERA. Brown is having a sensational summer as a starter after being a reliever for most of the spring. He has started six games, his only appearances, and has a sparkling 1.74 ERA. Brown is in the same mold of Superko as a guy who gets a lot of strikeouts but also walks a lot of guys. If he can carry over his pitching from this summer into the rotation next spring, the Jumbos will have a top three of him, David and Superko which is pretty formidable especially given all the pitching Tufts has lost in the last two years.
Martha’s Vineyard Sharks Soren Hanson ’16 (Colby): By chance I saw Hanson pitch last Thursday against the Nashua Silver Knights. He went 6.2 innings and allowed only one run, though he did not collect the win. Hanson relied heavily on his curveball, throwing it early in counts to get called strikes and not just swings and misses. The start brought his overall ERA to 3.43, the lowest it has been since after his first start of the season. Hanson has not been hitting at all this season unlike he did for Colby, leaving that instead for his teammates and fellow NESCAC players Wesleyan shortstop Guy Davidson ’16 and Jack Roberts ’17. In fact, along with Williams catcher and Nothing But NESCAC contributor Adam Dulsky ’18, the Sharks have four NESCAC players on the roster. Hey, you can’t call NESCAC players stupid. Who wouldn’t want to spend the summer on Martha’s Vineyard playing baseball?