11 August, 2004

Braves take lessons back to their college homes

     Braves players seemed resigned to missing that coveted playoff spot as the final week of ball played out. Yet having missed that mark, players could only reflect on the lessons learned while wearing a Cape Cod Baseball League uniform and the experience they'll take back to their college programs.

     Greg Creek, who led the Braves with a .242 batting average this season says he'll go back to Maine having faced the best pitching of his career. "The pitching level has been compared to AA ball and I believe that. The combination of the speed and the wood bats makes it real hard in the beginning. You have to make that adjustment," says Creek, who spent last summer in the New England College Baseball League. "If I could do the Cape League experience all over, I would," says the senior. "The other summer leagues just don't compare. The pitching, the speed of the game, and the all-around pace of everything is so much quicker. They really cram a lot into a short period of time."

     Hailing from Los Angeles, Brennan Boesch felt at home on the Cape. "The people in LA and here are similar," he says. "Everyone's trying to get someplace in a hurry. And the beaches are nice, too."

     Aside from the scenery, Boesch says he'll head back to UCal-Berkeley with a new perspective on the game. "I've never really struggled in baseball before I came here. I'm going back with a more humbled approach. The pitching is awesome and I wasn't used to being dominated like that at UCal."

     Like Boesch, Joe Simokaitis came to the Cape via Nebraska and will bring back more than a nice tan with him this week. "I'll probably have about a week off and then it will be back to school and back to baseball. I know I'm going back a better player," says the St. Louis native. "The guys who play up here, they're a step above. If you don't hit up here as well as you'd like, you have to expect it to a certain extent, and then you go back with the confidence that at least you played in the Cape League. After 60 or so college games and then another 44, you've played a tough schedule during the year. But the Cape League motivates you to keep fighting and grinding it out, just like in the majors."

By Silene Gordon