Making the transition from high school to college sports is enough of a challenge in itself. Student athletes go from being the oldest and best athletes in their high school conference to once again being the youngest and least experienced. Add on the adjustment to college life, plus the difficulty in class work, and they don’t exactly need any help in making freshman year more demanding.
Unfortunately for Wyatt Major from Mattapoisett, his freshman year has been a bit more difficult than that of the average freshman baseball player. As the 2017 Mayflower Athletic Conference Small Vocational Division Player of the Year for Old Colony, Major elected to continue his play on the diamond with Massachusetts Maritime Academy where he could also major in Marine Transportation.
One slight problem with that: Major has to be out at sea for 52 days, which overlaps with the time he’s preparing for the season. In fact, he had to show up late for the Florida trip with several other teammates who also study Marine Transportation.
“I’ve had a lot more playing time than I thought I’d get,” Major said. “I didn’t really have much time to train, other than weight-lifting in the gym on the ship. So I didn’t throw much or anything. Once I got into Florida we kicked it into high gear.”
Major started his throwing program as early as December during high school, working at various indoor baseball facilities throughout the area. This year he had to settle for throwing long toss whenever the ship went into port.
Not exactly an ideal switch.
That’s delayed Major’s first appearance on the mound, though as he expressed, he’s working towards that. And he’ll have to find out a formula that works for him because this will be a reoccurring experience for the remainder of his college career.
Hitting – that’s a slightly different story. While he still has to get his timing down and adjust to collegiate pitching, Major was able to get his shot in the batters box while playing first base in four games, starting two.
His first plate appearance was anti-climactic to say the least, getting drilled by a pitch. He would go on to get a hit in his first game, along with his first RBI, getting a few milestones out of the way quickly. But Major admits he still has a bit to learn about Division III college pitchers.
“The biggest challenge that I’ve faced has been that pitchers have been able to throw the backdoor breaking ball where they want,” Major said. “That’s been the toughest thing for me. The pitchers make a lot less mistakes and throw inside on me. So I’ve really had to cover the plate more than I had in high school or AAU.”
Major and the Buccaneers are off to a 2-4 start and had their first two home games of the year postponed this week due to the inclement weather. They plan to travel to Worcester Polytechnic Institute for a doubleheader on Saturday and host Dean College in a doubleheader on Sunday.
Old Rochester Regional
Old Rochester boys’ ice hockey was knocked out in the first round of the MIAA Division 2 State Tournament by No. 13 Taunton, 4-2. Ranked fourth in the south, Old Rochester finishes the season 15-4-3. Tayber Labonte finished the season with 53 points (currently ranked 12th in the state) off 25 goals and 28 assists. Ryan Raphael finished the year with 37 points on 17 goals and 20 assists.
Tabor Academy graduate Molly Little has scored seven goals in her first six games playing women’s lacrosse for the University of Denver this season. She’s scored in five of her six starts, scoring two goals twice, including the first game of the season when the Pioneers upset No. 23 Stanford 12-9. Denver is now ranked No. 27 nationally, previously as high as No. 24, after a 4-2 start to the season and will take on No. 25 Temple, UConn and No. 11 Colorado in the next three games.
Lydia Caputi and the rest of the Bowdoin women’s basketball team are playing in the NCAA Division III Women’s basketball Final Four against Wartburg Friday at 8:30 pm. Caputi has played in 29 of the Polar Bears’ 30 games, making 27 starts. She’s averaging 5.6 points per game, with her season-high (12) coming against UMass Dartmouth on November 30. She’s averaging 5.5 points and five rebounds per game in the tournament. The Tabor Academy graduate also had four assists in the third round win over Scranton and had two steals in the quarter finals win over Tufts. The Polar Bears are 28-2 on the season.
High School Sports
By Nick Friar