Hartford, Conn. - For four Trinity baseball players, the spring college season was just not enough. Seniors Brendan Pierce (Hingham, Mass.), Anthony Egeln (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.), McLane Hill (Marlborough, Conn.), and sophomore Alex Rodriguez (South Windsor, Conn.) all played in summer collegiate baseball leagues. The wooden bat leagues are amateur baseball leagues that typically run from June to August. Each Bantam represented the school well, making Trinity Head Coach Brian Adamski (5th Season) proud. Rodriguez's team even won the New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL) Championship, the franchise's first championship ever.
Pierce, Hill, and Rodriguez all played in the New England Area, while Egeln found himself in Wisconsin for the summer. Pierce, a two-year captain for the Bantams, played in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League of New England for the Brockton Rox where he pitched and played outfield. Hill pitched in the NECBL for the Danbury Westerners, appearing in eight games and averaging one strikeout per inning. Egeln spent the summer playing for the Green Bay Bullfrogs in the Northwoods League, which is one of the most competitive college baseball summer leagues in the country. Egeln pitched for the Bullfrogs and went 3-1 in 19 appearances. Rodriguez had arguably the most exciting summer, walking away as part of a championship team and earning a ring. Rodriguez played in the same league as Hill, but for the Valley Blue Sox of Massachusetts.
Rodriguez had an impressive start to his career last spring, earning New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Co-Rookie of the Year as well as being named to the All-NESCAC First Team. Pierce was an All-NESCAC Second Teamer as a rookie in 2015 and has hit 10 career home runs, while Egeln and Hill have combined to pitch in 55 games in a Bantam uniform.
"Playing almost every day for a little over two months was the dream," said Egeln about his experience in Green Bay. "The competition was really good, the guys out there can really hit the ball. It was also really cool to be able to see another part of America. I have never been to the upper Midwest and it was interesting to experience the subtle changes in culture."
Pierce also enjoyed his summer, playing in the FCCBL for the Rox. "It was a very fulfilling and pleasurable experience playing for the Brockton Rox, a place close to my hometown. I have had a couple of summer ball experiences and this one was far and away the best," said Pierce. "A great organization with top-notch facilities, combined with a special group of guys. I wouldn't have changed anything this summer as I learned valuable lessons about the game as well as myself. The league had a high level of competition and fantastic atmospheres and I will miss it."
This summer, Rodriguez batted .342 (39-for-114), scored 21 runs and registered eight doubles, three triples, and 23 RBIs. He also had an impressive slugging percentage of .465. He appeared in 16 games and went 3-for-6 in the playoffs with two doubles, and caught the final out in the championship victory over the Ocean State Waves.
Rodriguez also got a lot more out of the experience than just progressing as a baseball player. The sophomore matured and thrived in an environment where he was playing with many other experienced college players, many of whom play at the Division I level.
"Playing alongside high Division I ball players on the Valley Blue Sox this summer was the most humbling yet greatest experiences I have had," Rodriguez said. "Catching the final out of the franchise's first league championship is something that I'll never forget. Looking to this coming spring with the talent our team has, I feel we have the right group of guys to do something special this year. I can't wait to get back out on the field with the boys," said Rodriguez.
Hill also got the most out of his experience. "Although it was a lot of traveling and a rigorous schedule, it was a great experience being able to compete at a higher level than I ever have and meet a lot of great players and coaches," he said. "Playing all around New England and seeing different parts of the area was also very cool."
Coach Adamski shared his sentiments, and also reflected on the work ethic of these four. "Our guys work incredibly hard throughout the year and were deserving of the opportunities they were given this summer. To have our players represented in three of the top collegiate summer leagues in the country is great for their development and reflects positively on our program."