Bulldog days of summer

Brent Lawson ’16 joined two Eli teammates playing for the Myrtle Beach Stars over the summer.
Brent Lawson ’16 joined two Eli teammates playing for the Myrtle Beach Stars over the summer. Photo by Graham Harboe.

The last out of Yale’s season was made back in April, but the Bulldog Boys of Summer were just getting started.

After a long 38-game spring season, most Yale baseball players continued polishing their craft after classes ended in some of the top collegiate summer leagues across the nation.

Southpaws Rob Cerfolio ’14 and David Hickey ’14 continued the dominant seasons they had on the mound for the Elis. Hickey authored a 2.15 earned run average for the season and did not allow an earned run in Ivy League play, while Cerfolio posted a 2.94 ERA.

“The New England Collegiate Baseball League helped me to improve as a pitcher because it allowed me to play in an environment different from the spring season,” Hickey said. “Composed of players across the country, there was a range of talent and personalities on my team and the other teams in the league. Summer ball is great in this way as it is a break from the rigidity of the spring season.”

Hickey picked up right where he left off during the Ivy season for the Vermont Mountaineers. After striking out 35 in 37.2 innings for Yale, Hickey was even more overpowering in the NECBL. He sat down 34 batters on strikes in just 30.1 innings of work.

In seven games, including six starts, Hickey engineered a miniscule 1.78 earned run average and allowed fewer batters to reach base (20 hits and four walks) than innings pitched.

Cerfolio, who was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 33rd round of the MLB Draft in June, started three games for the Moondogs of Mankato, Minn. before his summer was cut short by injury.

“I was playing in the Northwoods League [of the upper Midwest and southern Canada] at the beginning of the summer until I fractured my ankle,” Cerfolio said. “It was unfortunate, but I’m getting better.”

His best performance came against the Thunder Bay Border Cats on June 3, when he surrendered just two earned runs over six-and-two-thirds innings pitched.

Pitcher and outfielder Eric Hsieh ’15 said that the experience gained from playing summer ball benefits the roster from top to bottom.

“For the guys who want to get drafted, it gives them more exposure,” Hsieh said. “It gives fielders the chance to see more live pitching and gives players who saw less action during the season a chance to get in more reps and work towards competing for starting jobs next season.”

Hsieh played in the Orange County Collegiate Baseball League and said that the summer gave him more chances to work on his pitching. Hsieh stepped off the mound last season to spend most of his time patrolling the outfield for the Elis, where he batted .280 with a .366 on-base percentage and a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage.

Several Elis excelled in their leagues, earning all-star appearances. Hickey represented the Mountaineers in the NECBL All-Star game, while outfielder and pitcher Green Campbell ’15 played in the Beach Collegiate Baseball League for the Myrtle Beach Stars. Unable to play the field because of a lingering ankle injury, Campbell said that he was able to concentrate on pitching as the Stars’ closer.

“Without having to worry about hitting and playing the outfield I was able to focus exclusively on pitching,” Campbell said. “I saw that I am able to pitch at the collegiate level and I gained confidence going into next season.”

Campbell was lights out for the Stars on the mound, surrendering a lone run in 16.2 frames while slamming the door on eight saves.

The righty was not alone on the Stars, as he was joined by Bulldog teammates catcher/outfielder Brent Lawson ’16 and pitcher Chris Moates ’16.

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