Summer league baseball is a totally different ball game — especially at the high-school level.
It isn’t just practices every day or the stress of competing for a city championship that make it exhausting — it’s jam-packed with games and tournaments that sometimes cross state lines and time zones. It can, however, be exciting — an opportunity to fine-tune skills that are overlooked during the regular season.
Xaverian’s Pedro Fortoso chose to take the second approach this summer. The senior is in the midst of his first season with the Midville Dodgers scout team. He’s admittedly exhausted, but he’s also having the time of his life on the diamond.
“This is my first year on the team,” Fortoso said. “I heard good things about coach, and it’s a lot of travelling, so I thought it would be the best for me. So far it’s been pretty good.”
Fortoso had a solid spring with the Clippers this year. He’s a dependable defender at third base, but he also knows that the weeks he spends with Midville can help improve his game even more.
The squad already competed in a multi-team tournament in Indianapolis earlier this month, and it will head to several other out-of-state matchups over the next few weeks.
It’s an opportunity to face off against some seriously tough high-school talent, and Fortoso is determined to take advantage of the moment.
“It’s been really fun and kind of eye-opening,” he said. “The competition was great when we went out to Indianapolis, and I know it’ll only get better.”
Fortoso’s determination is apparent in his stats. In his first 13 games with Midville, the third baseman racked up eight hits in 36 at bats, including three extra base hits.
He loves the competition he’s faced over the last few weeks, but Fortoso has also enjoyed spending time with his teammates. He wasn’t sure what to expect coming into the program — where players from all over the city joining forces for a few months. After all most of his summer teammates are his competition during the high-school season.
That hasn’t bothered the Dodgers squad this summer. It’s difficult not to bond when you’re riding a bus back from Indianapolis.
“We played each other in the spring, so we kind of do know each other already,” Fortoso said. “I mean we’d say ‘hi’ and stuff when we were out on the field. Here, though, it’s been pretty easy to find that chemistry together. It’s been really fun.”
Fortoso wants to win with Midville this summer. He wants to compete, to showcase the kind of talent New York City can produce. But he also wants to use these weeks of near-constant baseball to get better. If he can get better now, he can help Xaverian compete for another run at a city title next spring.
As far as Fortoso is concerned, that’s the best way to spend his summer vacation.
“This summer, I’m just trying to work hard for next year,” he said. “I think we’ll have a good team at Xaverian next year, and I think we can definitely make a good run at the playoffs.”