Quincy McAfee started his summer surrounded by the nation’s top hitters and has found a second home with one of the top offensive teams in the New England Collegiate Baseball League. The Pepperdine shortstop joined the Waves last week after playing seven games with the Orleans Firebirds of the Cape Cod Baseball League.
In his first four games with the Waves, McAfee is batting .533 with three RBI and two stolen bases, providing a big boost at the top of a lineup that features six players who are batting above .300.
“Being in the lineup in the Cape League, the guys are obviously the cream of the crop. Going from that – learning from them and seeing them swing – and then coming here to a team that’s been successful, I just jumped right in,” McAfee said. “I’m trying to pick up where I left off.”
McAfee was a second-team all-West Coast Conference selection for Pepperdine this spring, batting .269 and leading the team in stolen bases. On a temporary contract with Orleans, he earned a shot to stick around but not as an everyday player. Firebirds coach Kelly Nicholson and McAfee’s college coach at Pepperdine felt a full-time gig in the NECBL would be a better fit.
“Going into the summer, I knew I had to work on a few things hitting- wise,” McAfee said. “I felt like I needed to head down here to get more at-bats and really play every day. It was hard leaving, but coming down here has been great, and I’m getting the at-bats I need to be successful.”
Struble leads league
Ocean State’s L.T. Struble leads the NECBL with 14 stolen bases and is on pace to shatter the franchise record of 16, which is shared by three players.
Struble, who stole 28 bases this spring for Division II Felician University in New Jersey, is batting .281 for the Waves and has been caught stealing just twice.
Home not so sweet
Old Mountain Field has not been friendly to the Waves so far this summer. With Monday’s 6-3 loss to Danbury, Ocean State fell to 2-6 in home games. The lone wins came June 14 against Mystic and June 21 against Newport.
With the team playing 12 of its first 20 games on the road, the bulk of the home schedule is still to come, so the Waves will have ample opportunity to turn things around. The Waves dropped to 10-9 overall with Monday’s loss.
Waves up 2-1 in Pell Series
The Waves hold a one-game lead through three games in the Pell Bridge Series thanks to Friday’s 11-5 win over Newport at Cardines Field.
The Waves rallied from a 5-1 deficit to take a 6-5 lead in the fifth inning, then broke the game open with five runs in the ninth. Garrett Hodges homered and Grant English had three RBI to pace the Waves. Steve Theetge, Peyton Deats and Joe Kelly combined on seven scoreless innings of relief.
Southern Division race is tight
There is little separation in the NECBL’s Southern Division as the midway point of the season approaches. The top five teams – Ply- mouth, Mystic, New Bedford, Ocean State and Newport – were all within 2.5 games of each other as of Monday’s action. Even last-place Danbury is right in the mix, four games out of first place.