By: Brian McLoughlin
NEWTON, Mass. (8/10/17) - Each summer, the top collegiate baseball athletes migrate to Cape Cod, Massachusetts to play in the Cape Cod Baseball League. The CCBL, a premier amateur baseball league founded in 1885, has seen more than 1,100 baseball players reach the major leagues.
Joe Sullivan, a rising sophomore from East Sandwich, Massachusetts and a catcher for the Lasell College baseball team, had one of his lifelong dreams realized this summer; playing in the CCBL for the Hyannis Harbor Hawks.
By the end of 2016, there were 297 CCBL alumni playing in Major League Baseball organizations. Current Boston Red Sox who played in the Cape Cod Baseball League include Chris Sale (YD Red Sox) and Jackie Bradley Jr. (Harbor Hawks).
This past spring, Sullivan played in 11 games for the Lasers during his freshman campaign, contributing four hits, one stolen base, and an RBI in 14 at-bats.
Sullivan's road to signing with the Harbor Hawks started well before this summer.
"I have been going to Cape League games every summer with family and friends since I was at least six or seven years old," said Sullivan.
In high school, he got a chance to intern for the team, thanks to his high school athletic trainer Erin Giooly, who is also the Harbor Hawks athletic trainer.
"The following year, I was asked to be the bullpen catcher," added Sullivan. "I had met the coaches and done some lessons with them before, so they knew I could catch."
"This season was my third as the team's bullpen catcher. I ended up signing with the team towards the end of the season."
During his years with the Harbor Hawks as a bullpen catcher, Sullivan has caught for pitchers like Dakota Hudson (Mississippi St., St. Louis Cardinals), Aaron Civale (Northeastern, Cleveland Indians), Garrett Cave (University of Tampa, San Francisco Giants), and Christian Tripp (University of New Mexico).
On July 29th, the Harbor Hawks officially signed their now former bullpen catcher to the active roster. Sullivan played in two games, with one at-bat for the Harbor Hawks. In doing so, Sullivan became the first and only Lasell baseball player to appear in a Cape League game.
When asked how playing in the Cape League will impact his performance at Lasell, Sullivan commented, "Playing in the Cape League is going to be extremely beneficial for me at Lasell. I have caught some of the best pitching in the nation, and learned from some of baseball's greatest coaches, Ron Polk (Mississippi State) and Ray Korn (Team USA.)".
Sullivan also gained valuable lessons from teammates.
"Guys like Chris Proctor (Duke) and Ryan Olenek (Ole Miss) really helped me a lot with hitting both mechanically and mentally." Sullivan continued, "Being a catcher, Chris also helped me a lot defensively. Everything I have learned from them will hopefully transfer to me being a more knowledgeable and more prepared player on the diamond."