Pomona-Pitzer's Boys of Summer

JC Ng in Syracuse Spartans uniform.

Night Owls, Woodchucks, Spartans and Harbour Cats.

Those are just some of the jerseys Pomona-Pitzer baseball players don as they fan out across the U.S. and Canada to play in summer collegiate leagues each year.

When other students scatter for jobs, internships and research opportunities, more than a dozen members of the Sagehen baseball program usually pack up their gear and go play ball. It’s an opportunity to work on their skills, travel a bit—and maybe, just maybe, catch the eye of a pro scout.

It happened to former Sagehens pitcher Ryan Long ’21, who was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 17th round of the 2021 Major League Baseball draft after scouts saw him pitching for the Cotuit Kettleers of the Cape Cod League in Massachusetts.

“It was huge for me. I think it was probably the main reason I got drafted,” says Long, a 6-foot-6 righthander who lost most of the last two seasons of his college career to the COVID-19 shutdown. Once headed for graduate school at Georgetown University, the philosophy, politics and economics major was off to play rookie ball for the Orioles in the Florida Complex League after being drafted. He found himself with extra time on his hands.

“Being someone who always was doing something in undergrad, I didn't really know how to transition out of that,” he says. “So I decided to study for my LSAT.”

With his baseball workouts mostly in the morning, Long spent a couple of hours most afternoons studying for the law school admissions test. He took it in January before reporting to the Orioles’ Class A Delmarva Shorebirds on Maryland’s Eastern Shore this season and has a strong LSAT score in his pocket for life after baseball.

Life after baseball isn’t what most players are after, however. Even though only one player from Pomona College has ever played in the major leagues—Harry Kingman from the Class of 1913 appeared in four games for the New York Yankees—that doesn’t mean players aren’t hoping to get a taste of pro ball.

“I mean, that’s every college baseball player’s dream. I want to continue to play the game as long as I can,” says JC Ng ’25, a first-team All-SCIAC outfielder last season who made the New York Collegiate Baseball League’s All-Star team this summer while playing for the Syracuse Spartans. He’s not done yet, wrapping up the season with Wisconsin’s Wausau Woodchucks in the Northwoods League.

Isaac Kim ’24, a 6-foot-4 slugger who was the SCIAC Newcomer of the Year for the Sagehens, hasn’t abandoned the dream, either. He spent the summer on Canada’s Victoria Island off the coast of Vancouver, playing for the Nanaimo Night Owls of the West Coast League. Like Pomona-Pitzer pitcher Harry Deliyannis ’24, who played for the Victoria Harbour Cats on the island, most of Kim’s road trips included a ferry ride to the mainland.

“Nine-hour or 10-hour bus rides, mostly overnight,” Kim says. “But the more fun part is that you don’t have to divide your attention and focus on school too. You can put all your focus on baseball.”

The experience pays dividends, says Sagehens Coach and Professor of Physical Education Frank Pericolosi, whose web of relationships in the summer leagues helps find roster spots for his players.

“For hitters, it’s an opportunity to get a lot of at-bats while playing five or six games a week. It’s also great for hitters to use wood bats [college teams use metal bats] and compete against top pitchers from across the country,” Pericolosi says. “There’s definitely high demand for pitchers in these summer leagues, so it’s an opportunity for guys who may not have pitched a lot during our season to improve over the summer against good competition,” he adds.

The benefits can extend beyond the diamond.

“There are definitely some who know the chance of getting drafted is slim but just want to play competitive baseball and experience a different part of the country for a summer,” Pericolosi says.

For others, the experience might burnish a resume. Deliyannis, an economics major, has decided his career plan is to work in either baseball analytics or coaching.

“Playing as long as I possibly can will help me with that, regardless of if I’m doing summer internships right now or not,” he says. “But my dream of playing baseball professionally is not yet over. Not until somebody pulls the jersey off my back.”

Sagehens in the Summer Leagues

Name League
David Bedrosian* Pittsfield Suns
Zach Bellini Grand Park Summer League
Ethan Collins Syracuse Spartans
Harry Deliyannis Victoria Harbour Cats
Jackson Fleming Xenia Scouts
Enoch Kim Southern California Shepherds
Isaac Kim Nanaimo Night Owls
Stephen Kwak Syracuse Spartans
Jimmy Legg Syracuse Spartans
Caleb Millikan* Alaska Goldpanners
Ben Morgan* Bay Area Force
JC Ng Syracuse Spartans, Wausau Woodchucks
Eddie Rosemont* Nanaimo Night Owls
Peter Savas* Bay Area Force
Joseph Williams Cotuit Kettleers, Martha's Vineyard Sharks

*Pitzer College