By Tom Joyce, Contributing Writer
Southborough – Southborough native Ryan Solomon could take time off from baseball in the summer if he wished, but he is not interested in doing that.
Solomon, who graduated from Algonquin Regional High School in 2015 and was named to ESPN Boston’s All-State team his senior year, is now a rising junior on the Division 1 Northeastern Huskies baseball team. Instead of taking a break from the baseball this summer, he is playing for the Mystic Schooners of the New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL).
“It’s exciting,” Solomon said. “It’s a really competitive league. Everyone here is competitive. The pitching is really good, so it’s definitely fun to be down here.”
The league – which uses wood bats – features Division 1 ballplayers who come from all over the country and a handful of the league’s alum are selected in the Major League Baseball draft every year. While the league gives players an opportunity to showcase their talent to pro scouts, it also serves as an opportunity for players to work on areas of their game they might not have a chance to during the spring.
This summer, Solomon has received more of an opportunity to play defense, manning third base for the Schooners. He said the experience in the NECBL gives him the opportunity to work hard in order to improve the hot corner.
“In the spring it’s kind of hard to take extra ground balls with classes and all that,” he said, “but having the opportunity to get to the field early to take more ground balls is definitely helpful. The weather is a lot nicer now, so it’s the time where I can do that.”
Through 10 games for the Schooners, Solomon had reached base 12 times (six hits and six walks) and hit a home run as well as two doubles.
Coming into this summer, Solomon already had summer ball experience. Last year, he played 15 games for the Wachusett Dirt Dawgs of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League. While he was not with the team for the full season, he said the experience is proving itself as worthwhile now.
“It’s similar in the scheduling with six games a week and all that, so I really knew what to expect coming in,” he said. “I wasn’t surprised by anything coming in here.”
During the spring, Solomon played in 30 games at Northeastern and made 19 starts, spending time as a designated hitter and third baseman. Despite not being an everyday player, Solomon still managed to hit .284 with four home runs, nine doubles and a .951 OPS in 67 at-bats. For some players, not playing in every game might hurt their production if they go several days without facing live pitching, but for Solomon felt ready when his team needed him.
“I had a conversation with our coach of what my role would be, so I knew what to expect and when I’d be out there,” he said. “That was a big help because I got to figure out how to get ready for my opportunities when they came along.”
His performance this past spring was a major upgrade over what he did his freshman year in 2016. Albeit he showed off his plate discipline, posting a .338 on-base percentage, he did not display the same sort of power he did this season.
“I just got more comfortable – I knew what to expect from our team and our coaching staff,” he said of his transition from freshman to sophomore year. “I knew not to get to get too worked up over certain things and made a lot of adjustments which was good.”