The Cape Cod Baseball League has served as a stepping stone for collegiate athletes looking to make their way to Major League Baseball. This summer, Elon University baseball will continue its tradition of sending players up to this high level playing environment with three pitchers – sophomore Shea Sprague, junior Ben Simon and redshirt junior Joe Savino. The pitching trio have signed contracts to play with the Harwich Mariners for the 2023 season.
Sprague said he was excited when he found out from Elon head coach Mike Kennedy that he was playing in the Cape League this summer.
“When coach Kennedy first told me in the fall practice, I honestly couldn’t wipe the smile off my face because that was pretty cool,” Sprague said.
Kennedy is currently in his 27th season coaching Elon baseball. With his connections to the Cape League, and specially with Harwich, he said it’s the best summer league to be a part of.
“To have our guys be able to compete that, number one, is great for them because I think they understand this is the place to be in the summer,” Kennedy said. “If you’re in the Cape, you’re doing something right. Kudos to those guys.”
Before committing to Elon, Sprague came to campus on an official visit. He said he knew instantly that he wanted to commit.
“On Sunday of my visit, I told coach Kennedy I was going to come here, but we had to go home and run by my mom first,” Sprague said. “I called them on Monday and let him know I was going to come here.”
When he stepped into Latham Park his first year, Sprague said he was nervous, but was able to fit right in with the team.
“I came in kind of timid,” Sprague said. “Seeing a lot of the older guys, bigger, stronger than I was, but then just having success and having a good group of guys around me, I think it's really helped me and my confidence.”
Sprague won’t be far from home playing in the Cape. This experience for the Hanover, Massachusetts native is extra special, as he will have the opportunity to be a part of the games he grew up watching.
“I'm going to be able to play in front of my friends and family, it's been a dream of mine since I was a little kid so I'm really excited,” Sprague said.
Sprague will be heading up to Harwich with teammates Simon and Savino. Simon has had the opportunity to watch Sprague in the bullpen and see him develop from a rookie in his freshman fall season into a strong starter for the Phoenix.
“You kind of realize that his success isn’t in the flash and all that stuff,” Simon said. “His demeanor has grown so much, and he's been just kind of the guy that you can rely on to go out there every day and give you his best.”
Savino will be spending his second summer with the Mariners and said he is looking forward to being back.
“It's awesome,” Savino said. “I've always wanted to go back up there ever since last summer. Now that I get to do that with two of my teammates, it's going to be a really fun opportunity. Can't wait.”
Savino said he and his teammates are excited to perform to the best of their abilities, and to prove to the league what Elon is capable of.
“I think we're known here as a pitching school,” Savino said. “If we could go up there and pitch it like we do, I think it'd be representing Elon in a great way.”
This season, Sprague, Simon and Savino have been lights out for the Phoenix. The trio has a combined total of 163 strikeouts in the 2023 season.
Simon said he has been proud of the season so far and is hoping to make it far in the postseason, as well as in a professional career.
“It’s kind of what drives you every day,” Simon said. “Obviously you’re looking to win championships here but obviously being able to be a professional baseball player is every little kid's dream,”
The Harwich Mariners are set to open its season June 10 and go through August.