Gone are the days of summer being a time baseball players take off, or just play in a recreational league a few times a week. With the boom of high-level summer collegiate baseball leagues across the country increasing the visibility of the sport, as well as the competition level for collegiate baseball players, players are continually looking to get an edge by performing in a variety of these leagues. These leagues also provide the best exposure for Major League Baseball scouts to see players in a highly competitive environment.
That platform has now been opened for Kalamazoo College's baseball program, as it has been a prime focus of Head Coach Mike Ott and his staff since his hiring in 2012.
Announced earlier in the fall, sophomore left handed pitcher Aaron Schwark signed in the West Coast League with the Medford Rogues. The West Coast League is based in the Pacific Northwest and is comprised of some of the top college players. Sanctioned by Major League Baseball and the NCAA, the West Coast Collegiate Baseball League's players come predominantly from the Pac-10, Big West, WCC and WAC conferences and has had over 100 West Coact league alumni enter into professional baseball. Schwark completed his freshmen season with a 5-2 record and a 3.14 ERA. In MIAA action, Schwark was fourth in the league with a 2.25 ERA.
Rounding out the signings for the Hornets is freshman right-handed pitcher Ryan Orr. A freshman from Bath High School, Orr rewrote many of the MHSAA pitching records over his time with the Bees ending his career as a three time All-State player and earning the Prep Baseball Report Michigan Player of the Year Award in 2014. Orr, who will be a dual threat for Kalamazoo as a second baseman and a pitcher, signed with the Kenosha Kingfish of the Northwoods League to aid their pitching staff. Teams in the Northwoods League play 72 games in 76 days and has more teams, draws more fans and plays more games than any other Summer Collegiate Baseball League. The Northwoods League is widely acclaimed as one of the top summer leagues in the country behind the Cape Cod League and has alumni such as Andre Ethier, Curtis Granderson, Max Scherzer and Jordan Zimmerman.