Just because the high school baseball season is over, that doesn’t mean that there will be any shortage of baseball to follow in the area over the summer months.
As a matter of fact there is plenty of top-quality amateur baseball for young and old alike and in most instances you can’t beat the price of admission (it’s free).
Some of the action is right in your own backyard but never more than an hour in the car to catch a game on the Cape.
So here goes in no particular order:
The American Legion baseball program has been in existence since the 1920s. Today, more than 50 percent of Major League Baseball players are graduates of the program. About 82,000 youths play on Legion-sponsored teams across the country each year.
In the local area, the competition is divided between District 6 and District 10.
District 6 includes teams from Braintree, Quincy, Canton, Weymouth, Holbrook, Hyde Park, Milton, Cohasset, Walpole, Franklin, Needham, Medfield, Norwood, Foxboro, Westwood and Norfolk.
District 10 includes teams from Whitman, Brockton, Hanover, East Bridgewater, Rockland, Marshfield, Pembroke, Hingham, Plymouth, Barnstable, Kingston, Sandwich, Wareham, Orleans and Bridgewater.
The teams consist mostly of local high school players, however, some freshman in college dot the rosters.
The games are typically held at the local high school varsity venue in the early evening or, in the case of some ball parks, played under the lights.
Each district has an end of season tournament to determine which squad will advance to the Massachusetts State Championship which is usually held the last week in July.
For complete details, including schedules and standings you can access each website: www.district6baseball.com or www.district10baseball.com.
Some of the best amateur baseball on the South Shore is played in the CBL which can be favorably compared with its brethren to the north – the Boston Park League. Since its inception in 1960, The Cranberry Baseball League has provided a venue for the area’s best amateur, collegiate and former professional players, coaches and umpires in Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
The Cranberry league is a wooden-bat league. The Cranberry League is a member of the American Amateur Baseball Congress (AABC) and competes in the “Stan Musial” Division.
The league includes teams from Braintree, Bourne, Easton, Marshfield, Acushnet, Rockland, Quincy, Canton and Whitman.
The Braintree White Sox have dominated the CBL, having won six consecutive league titles as well the 2014 AABC Stan Musial National Championship.
For all the schedules, standings and league news go to: www.cranberryleague.com.
FUTURE COLLEGIATE BASEBALL LEAGUE
The FCBL is one of the many leagues across the country for college-players only – many who aspire to make it to the big leagues.
The league began its initial year of operations in 2011. The founders of the league are the FCBL ownership groups from both the Brockton Rox (Can-Am League) and the Lowell Spinners (Single A affiliate Boston Red Sox). The league includes teams playing in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Connecticut.
The FCBL plays a 56-game (28 home and 28 away), nine-week schedule which concludes in early August.
The Brockton Rox are the local entry and they play all their homes games at Campanelli Stadium (small admission fee).
For complete details, go to: www.brocktonrox.com.
NEW ENGLAND COLLEGIATE BASEBALL LEAGUE
This is another league that features elite collegiate players from all over the country looking to improve their baseball skills and impress major league scouts.
Founded in 1993, the NECBL began its direction under George Foster, former Cincinnati Reds and New York Mets All-Star and Major League home run leader and league founder Emmy Award-winning television producer/director Joseph Consentino.
Today, the NECBL has become a strong 13-team league that plays in all six New England states and recruits players attending U.S colleges from New England, the other forty-four States and foreign countries.
The League plays an eight week, 42-game per team schedule. The league championship is determined by a playoff in early August.
Jed Hoyer, former Red Sox front office guru and current GM with the Chicago Cubs, played for the Waterbury Barons.
The nearest local entries are the Plymouth Pilgrims, New Bedford Bay Sox and Newport, (RI) Gulls.
For complete details, go to: www.necbl.com.
CAPE COD LEAGUE
This has been the best of the collegiate baseball leagues – the crème-de-la-crème- since its inception in 1885.
The Cape League (10 teams) features a 44-game regular-season schedule and an action-packed postseason made up of best-of-three quarterfinal, semifinal and championship series.
The Cape League is recognized as the best amateur summer league in the country by college coaches and professional baseball scouts.
The list of Cape League all-time alumni who have played major league baseball totals more than 1100 names, including those of Baseball Hall of Famer Harold “Pie” Traynor (Falmouth ’19), former New York Yankee greats Red Rolfe (Orleans ’30) and Thurman Munson (Chatham ’67) and former AL MVP Frank Thomas (Orleans ’88), major league managers Bobby Valentine (Yarmouth ’67) and Buck Showalter (Hyannis ’76), Cy Young Award winners Steve Stone (Chatham ’68) and Mike Flanagan (Falmouth ’72), Firemen of the Year Wayne Granger (Sagamore ’62) and Jeff Reardon (Cotuit ’74-76), major league scout Lennie Merullo (Barnstable ’35), slugging first baseman Jeff Bagwell (Chatham ’87-’88) and Craig Biggio (Y-D ’86), the only former Cape Leaguer to amass more than 3,000 hits in the major leagues.
The drive to the Cape to see these elite players from all across the country is worth it!
The Cape League website is loaded with info: www.capecodbaseball.org.
And, of course, don’t forget to check out the many youth programs in your local communities – Little League, Babe Ruth, Cal Ripken and AAU teams.
They are living the dream just like the college guys!
Follow Bob on Twitter for all the local news, photos and more: @WhitneyBob.