Baltimore, Md.—UMBC baseball closer Stephen Schoch (Laurel, Md./Appalachian State) is in his first full season with the Cotuit Kettleers of the Cape Cod League this summer after getting the call up at the end of last season. He earned a spot in the league's all-star game, while also earning team MVP honors as voted on by the team.
"Playing the Cape League has been without a doubt one of the best experiences of my life, playing along side the best in the country," Schoch said of the experience. "Playing with the top talent in the nation and to be even considered one of them is truly one of the greatest honors I have ever received."
Schoch is just the third Retriever to play in the prestigious Cape Cod League, which is widely considered to be the best collegiate summer league in the country. He joined Jacob Christian and Zack Clark as the only Retrievers to play in the league.
This summer he has appeared in 15 games throwing 19.0 innings with a 2-1 record and one save. He has the second-best ERA on the team with a 0.94 ERA giving up 16 hits and four runs with two being earned. He has struck out 21 batters walking just six, earning him a spot in the Cape Cod All-Star game.
"When I was younger I remember seeing a closer named David Berg playing for UCLA who was a submarine pitcher like me and seeing him set records and wanting to be like him. When I got up here I met my coaches, one of which is David Berg. Everyone grows up with heroes, but not many can say they played catch with their hero and get to go to the field and see them every day," Schoch said of his coaching staff who has helped elevate his game this summer.
The Kettleers finished fourth in their division with a 22-18 record, earning a spot in the playoffs. Cotuit played Wareham in a best of three series, with Wareham winning the series to advance to the next round.
"We are really proud of how Stephen has represented UMBC this summer. Instead of being satisfied with his success in the spring, he continued to grow and develop as a pitcher and he has proven that he can excel against the best players in the country," UMBC associate head coach Liam Bowen said of Schoch. "We are excited to have him back this fall and will play a key role in us chasing another America East championship," he continued.
"Whenever things get too tough, there is always a kid who is dying for your autograph to remind you of the days you were that kid and how far you've come and how you've seen your hard work come to fruition and that you are inspiring kids with the same dream because at the end of the day, we are all just kids with a dream," Schoch said.
About the Cape Cod League:
The Cape Cod Baseball League is the premier amateur baseball league in the nation since 1885. After being populated mostly by GIs returning from World War I in 1919 and WW II in the late 1940s, the CCBL continued to be populated by a combination of local and regional college players until 1963, when it became officially sanctioned by the NCAA. Following a decade (1974-84) of using aluminum bats, the Cape League became the first collegiate summer league to use wooden bats in 1985 and became even more popular with major league scouts and college players and coaches and still is to this day!
The Cape League embarks this June for its 133rd season, featuring a 44-game regular-season schedule and an action-packed postseason made up of best-of-three quarterfinal, semifinal and championship series. Among the highlights will be the 2018 Cape League All-Star game on Sunday, July 22 at Whitehouse Field, home of the Harwich Mariners.
The Cape League is recognized as the best amateur summer leagues in the country by college coaches and professional baseball scouts. Players from across the USA and representing all college divisions are recruited to play in the 10-team loop.
Some of our current MLB alumni include New York Yankees center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury(Falmouth 2004), Boston Red Sox's Chris Sale (Yarmouth-Dennis 2009), Chicago Cub's Ian Happ (Harwich 2013-2014) and Kris Bryant (Chatham 2011), Colorado Rockies Chad Bettis (Falmouth 2008) and many more!