Daily Egyptian

Salukis placed across the nation for summer

By Aaron Graff, @Aarongraff_DE

While students are figuring out summer internships, baseball players are figuring out where they will play this summer.

Seventeen of the 29 eligible Saluki baseball players have been placed in collegiate summer leagues, which allows them to play games nearly every day, in different parts of the country.

“Those summer leagues are great leagues,” baseball coach Ken Henderson said. “I know very few kids who go and come back and don’t say they had a great experience.”

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Fifteen of the 17 have set teams. Freshman infielder Hunter Anderson and sophomore infielder Ryan Sabo are playing in the Hamptons League in New York, which places players in March based on the first month of stats to keep the league competitive.

The Salukis have players going as far west as Washington, and as far east as New York.

Players placed in summer leagues must have at least one year of eligibility in school.

Henderson said he picked some teams he has sent players to before. He said the staff has to be especially careful with pitchers to make sure their arms are preserved. The team decided to not let sophomore left-handed pitcher Kyle Pauly play last summer because it did not want someone over pitching him.

“You develop connections,” Henderson said. “You want guys you can trust.”

Henderson said to be a great college player, one must play in the summer, especially underclassmen. He said the team has had great placement numbers for the 26 underclassmen on the team the past two years.

“You can’t actually make them do it,” Henderson said. “All our kids, who we wanted to, wanted to play last year and we have everybody placed for this summer.”

Freshman infielder Greg Lambert said he is excited for the experience, and is not nervous. Lambert, who is originally from Alabama, will be spending his summer in Virginia with the Front Royal Cardinals.

“You get to live with a host family and see a different part of the country,” Lambert said.

Lambert said he is looking forward to meeting new people, while still playing with SIU freshman catcher Nick Hutchins and outfielder Braden Mosley. Every summer league team can have as many as four players from one school.

Some players will have to play against their Saluki teammates in the summer.

Sophomore outfielder J.C. DeMuri played last season with the Springfield Sliders. He played in the same division as sophomore right-handed pitcher Austin McPheron and Sabo, who played with the Terre Haute Rex.

“During the season you’re always friends with them,” DeMuri said. “Then you try to beat them when they’re on the opposite team.”

DeMuri is playing with the Derby Twins in Kansas and will get to play against sophomore catcher and outfielder Jake Hand, who is playing with the El Dorado Broncos.

The Salukis start their season Feb. 13-15 against the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs in Fort Worth. Players will report to their summer teams after the season concludes.

Aaron Graff can be reached at [email protected] or at 536-3311 ext. 256

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