Ten of the first 30 picks in the 2022 Major League Baseball Draft all have one thing in common: they all spent time playing in the Cape Cod Baseball League. That includes UConn baseball’s first-rounder Reggie Crawford, who went to the San Francisco Giants.
In fact, according to the CCBL, there are about 300 active major leaguers who came through the ranks on the Cape. As another season plays through the summer, there’s another class of players hoping to add their names to that list, and a handful of them have ties to Connecticut.
“Just kind of walking onto the field,” said UConn pitcher Garrett Coe. “And it takes a little bit to kind of sink in that this is, like, this is one of the big steps on the plan that you make as a kid.”
Coe is playing in his first summer in the CCBL. He’s pitching for the Falmouth Commodores will fellow Nutmegger Chase Jeter.
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“It was a tremendous experience last year,” Jeter said. “And I was able to have a good season and be able to return again for this summer.”
Coe is one of four UConn players spread out across the league. On the night NBC Connecticut visited, he was facing his Husky teammate, Justin Willis, who pitches for the Bourne Braves.
“There's a bunch of alumni that have come up to me in the bullpen and will be like, ‘hey UConn, let's go!’ We had a pretty good year. So it was cool,” Willis said. “I think people are starting to take notice.”
“Every at bat here is a grind,” Coe said. “For the most part, these guys come with their best swings, and you really got to make your best pitches or you're gonna have a little bit of trouble out here.”
The handful of Connecticut athletes dot rosters full of players from California, Texas and Florida. Jeter is even more of an outlier: a West Hartford public school grad and the lone Sacred Heart Pioneer on any of the 10 teams.
“I had a much different road than a lot of players,” said Jeter. I wasn't on, you know, premier summer teams, premier high school program, premier college program. But I think that I will show people too, that you don't necessarily need to be a part of those things to still have a good skill set and still be able to compete with the best players around.”
Fact is, they're all there for the same reason - these guys just get to play a little closer to home.
It's awesome,” Willis said. “Like this is our part of the country, people are coming up to where we play. They liked the fact that it's nice and warm now but you know, you played with snow on the field in January, it's a different thing.”
You can catch Cape Cod Baseball in Hartford this summer. The Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox and Hyannis Harbor Hawks will visit Dunkin Donuts Park on July 20 for an 11 a.m. first pitch.