By Kevin J. Stone, Contributing Writer
REGION – Around this time last year, summer baseball was virtually a pipe dream for players and coaches.
Young athletes who had the chance to play any Little League, AAU tournaments, Babe Ruth or American Legion ball games were one of the lucky ones.
Fast forward to this summer and the Legion season is in full swing.
For three recent graduates of the St. Mark’s School in Southborough, the story is extra special. Playing for the Hudson Post 100 team this summer has afforded Jacob Silvester, Jake Oblak and Jake LaMalva one final opportunity to play with their buddies before heading to college.
Not being an MIAA school, St. Mark’s didn’t get to participate in a “normal” spring season or postseason earlier this year. So, Legion ball is it.
Silvester, Oblak and LaMalva are all headed to college in the fall. But this summer, they are trying to soak up as much time as teammates as they possibly can.
Hudson manager Ryan Bowen has been thrilled to see not just those three but the whole team able to just be kids that love the game of baseball again.
“A lot of these guys have grown up playing on All Star teams and stuff like that together,” Bowen said. “I think them getting to play this summer, getting to reconnect with guys from other towns they may have played with on AAU teams or whatever it may be, it’s huge, especially as they’re preparing to head off to college.”
Silvester and Lamalva will be playing football at Springfield College and Hamilton College, respectively, while Oblak will be playing hockey at Middlebury College.
Without the ability to truly continue developing leadership skills or athletic skills during the shortened regular season, summer baseball has provided the guys with an opportunity to hone their craft on and off the field before taking that next step.
“They’re all hungry to be leaders,” Bowen added. “It’s not just those guys, we’ve got a great group, but those three guys have probably been our most consistent players. Those guys play in a league where they’re going against guys that throw 90 MPH every other game. Them being able to take the approach of facing so much talent almost every day and bringing it over to our dugout, it’s been great.”
“Just being able to bounce ideas off them too, they’ve kind of seen more advanced play than some of the guys we play with,” Bowen continued. “That’s not to say the non-private school kids aren’t advanced baseball-wise, but it’s just a whole different talent level and a different approach those guys have brought and passed on.”