Ivy on the diamond
Brown, Dartmouth represented on this year's Kets, Mets

 July 1, 2005


     Don't blame Stephen Perry and Devin Thomas if the task of balancing a summer job with playing in the Cape Cod Baseball League doesn't seem all that demanding. 

Juggling Ivy League course work with Division 1 college baseball now that's demanding. 

IVY MET (top)- Dartmouth College pitcher Stephen Perry is spending his summer pitching for the Hyannis Mets.
IVY KET (below)- Brown University catcher Devin Thomas is spending his summer playing for the Cotuit Kettleers

Bill Beregi/Barnstable Patriot

"It's pretty tough," Perry, a Dartmouth College sophomore and pitcher, said. "We'll have conditioning in the morning at 6 and practice will be a five-hour thing. It really does cut into your studying. But still I feel like I've been able to balance it very well." 

Thomas, the Brown University Bears' starting catcher, said, "It's really tough to balance, during the season especially. We have a lot of away games and you might get really behind. It's a really big sacrifice but at the same time, it's definitely worth it." 

Perry and Thomas might seem like unlikely Cape Cod Leaguers, but both have the credentials to merit a place in the league. Perry, who was Ivy League rookie of the year in 2004, went 4-2 in eight starts for the Dartmouth Big Green in his sophomore campaign. Through Wednesday on the Cape, he sported a 2.08 ERA in three games for the Hyannis Mets. 

Thomas, a sophomore who has played first base and catcher for the Bears in the past two years, earned second team all-Ivy honors his freshman year. This summer for the Cotuit Kettleers, his bat has been slow in waking up, but Thomas hopes to have things settled down at the plate soon. Behind the plate he has been solid, splitting time with Notre Dame's Sean Gaston for Cotuit. 

Perry and Thomas are two of the handful of Ivy Leaguers playing on Cape this summer. Though the Ivy League is not exactly the SEC, the league is not without a history in the Cape League. Just last season, Josh Faiola, then the Dartmouth ace, helped pitch the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox to the league championship and was named playoff co-MVP for his efforts. Other notable Cape League alumni from the Ivies include Yale product Ron Darling, a 2002 inductee to the Cape League Hall of Fame who pitched for Cotuit in 1981, and Atlanta Braves infielder and Penn grad Mark DeRosa. 

While many of their teammates on the Cape were recruited, Perry and Thomas were not so fortunate. It's a fact of life in the Ivies that players often have to do their own PR work. 

"It's hard when you come from a conference like the Ivy League because it's not as prestigious as some other conferences," Thomas acknowledged. "It's a lot harder to get into a league like this. There's just not as much publicity: none of our games are on TV, you don't read about them in the paper. You pretty much have to make the effort to get yourself seen." 

To their teammates, the fact that Perry and Thomas come from two of the most academically challenging institutions in the country is nothing more than comedic fodder. 

"The other guys on the team are always asking me what I got on my SATs or how much I read," Thomas, a double major in history and anthropology, laughed. "Sometimes they ask me random questions to see if I know the answer, but nothing too out of the ordinary." 

Perry, who is double-majoring in American history and government, shared a similar story, saying, "I think I said 'maximize your lead' one time, and they were like, 'maximize?' But it really is just regular teammate joking-around." 

As different as their college atmospheres are from their teammates', they all share the common goal of making the major leagues. Said Perry, "Since I was a little kid I've wanted to play pro ball. That's why I'm here." 

If, however, that dream does not work out, both have their eyes on law school. 

"Either way, you have to do something sooner or later," Thomas said. "My goal is the same thing (as my teammates'). It has been ever since I've been little. But I've always been focused on academics and sports. I'm not afraid to go to school afterwards. It's a win-win. Whatever happens will probably be the best thing." 

Perry and Thomas don't think playing in the Ivy Leagues will hurt their chances of getting drafted. 

"I know I can play, I just have to get the opportunity," Thomas said. "Sure it would be nice to have a little bigger budget or a little more importance placed on sports at Brown. But still I'm really happy with it. I have the best of both worlds." 

Perry hopes his pitching, both at Dartmouth and on the Cape, can speak for itself. 

"Some of the top guys from the Ivies can be competitive with anyone else," he said. "I know that I can't be any more than I am. On a good day I have good stuff, so hopefully I can get guys out. If you're a good player, they'll find you wherever you are." 

By James Feigenbaum sports@barnstablepatriot.com 


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