Summer And Fall Leagues Give Dreamers A Second Shot At Playing College Ball
Logan Dodds had a second chance to play baseball after getting cut from Nova Southeastern University’s baseball team, and he capitalized on that second chance. Dodds played for the Miami Dade Sharks three years ago in a summer league hoping to catch the eyes of Miami Dade College coaches — and he did.
Dodds earned a spot on the squad and was the best pitcher for the Sharks. He won the Florida JUCO Pitcher of the Year in 2009 and later transferred to Florida International University. Dodds was the first player to be selected by MDC coaches because of the skills he demonstrated in the summer league.
The Sharks coaching staff is hoping for a repeat of that story this year. For the past three years, the Sharks have given Miami Dade College students the opportunity to play summer and fall baseball even if they were not recruited by the team.
It was Dodd that gave the MDC coaches the idea to start a league for players to get a second chance at playing college ball.
Third baseman Alexis Rivas is hoping for that second chance. Rivas is playing in the summer league at North Campus in hopes to earn a spot for MDC in the fall or to be recruited by another team. In 2011 Rivas played for the Coral Reef Senior High Barracudas but tore his ACL and had a bucket handle tear in the meniscus during an at bat.
“I’m extremely happy to be playing because it’s like a second chance,” Rivas said.
The league allows the coaches to get a real glimpse of how the players will play in a real-life game situation.
“We are trying to find the diamond in the rough,” assistant coach Jim Mansilla said.
If the players show that they have what it takes, they will be called to practice with the MDC baseball team.
The leagues also offer an opportunity for players to play baseball at another university on a baseball scholarship. Mansilla said that other universities call them regarding players they may have that were cut or proved themselves worthy in the league.
“It’s a good setting to showcase for us, but we are also giving them opportunities to show their skills hopefully to play with us or with another school,” Mansilla said.
Mansilla said three players may have earned themselves a spot on a college baseball roster. Outfielder Michael Ramirez, catcher Reynaldo Santana, and third baseman Chris Hojas were notified by Florida Memorial College about possibly earning a spot on their roster.
The fall league games take place at North Campus on Saturdays and Sundays and will last 10 weeks.The league began on Sept. 29 and will finish Dec. 2. The team plays against schools like St. Thomas University and Florida Memorial College.
According to Mansilla, each player interested in playing must pay a fee that varies on the position of each player to cover the expenses of the league including equipment and umpires.
Mansilla makes sure that the league runs smoothly, and schedules games, while his son, Matt is in charge of the entire league.
The Sharks recruited 43 players and must get down to 25 players before the season starts in the spring.