NEW CASTLE —
John Sansone will play with the best of the best this summer.
The Neshannock High graduate and current Florida State University starting second baseman will play for the Brewster Whitecaps during the 44-game Cape Cod Baseball League regular season, which ends Aug. 3.
Sansone legged out a bases-clearing triple to right-center field to help Brewster secure a 7-3 win over visiting Falmouth In the season opener Wednesday. He went hitless Thursday night in his only at-bat as the Whitecaps were shut out 10-0 by visiting Harwich.
“It’s the premier Division I summer league,” he said of the Massachusetts-based league. “It’s the best of the best. Everything about it is so good. They bring in arm after arm and they’re all the same.
“The ACC is a great league, but this is a notch higher. It has every great pitcher in all of college baseball.”
The Cape Cod Baseball League is among the nation’s best summer leagues and a few summers ago had 205 alumni playing in Major League Baseball or were on the disabled list.
Ryan Braun, Jacoby Ellsbury, Tim Lincecum, Evan Longoria, Buster Posey, Mark Teixeira and Matt Wieters are among the notable CCBL alumni in the majors.
“It’s a great honor,” said Sansone, a son of John Sr. and Mirella Sansone. “I’m definitely humbled by it when you think of all the great names that have played here. My host parents told me a story about how Ryan Braun sat in the chair that I was sitting in (Tuesday) night in their house. It’s just an honor to play in a league that so many great names have played in.”
MAKING THE SWITCH
In the 2014 season opener Wednesday, Sansone started at third base but it could be one of a few positions he sees for the Whitecaps.
“The coach said I was going to play second, short and third a bunch,” he said. “I started at third, so I’m sure I’ll play second or short soon, but we’ll see what he wants to do.
“I played second every single game this year and last year (at Florida State). Playing third was rough. The first throw I made was in the dirt. Luckily, the first baseman picked me up and scooped it. I wasn’t used to the throw. It definitely was different.”
Sansone said he hasn’t gotten much work in anywhere other than his natural second base.
“I haven’t done much recently,” he admitted. “When I was at home, I took a couple balls, but in games, I haven’t taken ground balls anywhere but second.
“It’s a different world. Even going from second to short or short to second, it’s totally different — just how the ball comes off the bat, the angles and the bounces. Actually a lot of people don’t realize it until it happens to them.”
He will have to contend with some of the top collegiate pitchers this summer.
“I saw some great pitching in the ACC,” Sansone said. “I’m sure I’ll see the same here if not a tad better. Every Friday night and Saturday night guy will be in this league. It’ll be great to go up against them. It’s awesome that I can go up against everybody’s top pitcher day-in and day-out. It’s going to be a fun summer.”