Although Siena’s season ended this past weekend in Fort Worth, Texas, there’s still baseball to be played.
For Saints sophomore pitcher Bryan Goossens, his next season begins in the top collegiate summer league, the Cape Cod Baseball League. He will report to the Chatham Anglers — who finished atop the league’s Eastern Division standings last summer — ahead of their June 11 opener.
His Siena teammate Matt Gage, a Broadalbin-Perth graduate, played for Chatham last summer and learned a few things from coaches and teammates, and that’s what Goossens is most looking forward to this summer.
“That’s probably the best part of the summer for me,” Goossens said. “Even if I didn’t get into the games, just being able to spend every day with those guys and learn from them, I’m sure I’ll be able to learn so much. Matt Gage, last summer, said he learned one or two new pitches. They taught him a cutter last summer and he’s had success with that here, his splitter is a great pitch, and he even gained some velocity. I’m sure I’ll be able to come back in the fall just 100 times a better pitcher.”
Goossens is one of 14 players on Chatham’s roster for this summer who played this past weekend in the NCAA Division I regionals. Several of his fellow pitchers hail from the ACC, Pac-12 and Big 12. He will face batters from some of the top teams in the nation.
Goossens finished the regular season 3-4 for Siena from 14 starts with a 5.83 ERA and 1.68 WHIP in 801⁄3 innings. Batters hit .337 against him while he struck out 37 and walked 25. In regional play, he got roughed up by Sam Houston State in an elimination game Sunday, allowing five runs on six hits in 11⁄3 innings.
Last summer, he played in the New England Collegiate Baseball League with Holyoke. He was 2-1 with a 4.28 ERA over 21 innings. He had one start and threw a complete game. He struck out 14 while walking four.
He knows he’ll have to show up sharp right from the first pitch, because being on a Cape roster doesn’t ensure a spot for the entire summer.
“I had a friend up there last summer, and his contract ended up getting cut because he didn’t perform right away,” Goossens said. “Knowing that you’re basically playing for your spot every day is definitely nerve-wracking. But at the end of the day, it’s just baseball. I’ve been playing for 14 or 15 years now. At the end of the day, it’s just throwing strikes, making pitches and having fun.
“I know these will be the best guys in the country and a step up from anything I’ve faced before, but I’m confident in the tools I have.”
He may not have ended up with the most sizzling numbers this season at Siena, but the tools he’s talking about will set him up for success if he can further develop them.
He’s also looking to use this season in the Cape Cod league to work on throwing unexpected pitches when the count dictates he should throw a certain pitch.
“One of the biggest things I’ve learned this year was, I developed my curveball and developed a better off-speed pitch,” Goossens said. “That was one pitch last year that I didn’t have too much control over. To be able to throw three pitches for strikes was a lot more helpful this year. The one thing I definitely need to work more on is pitching backwards. A lot of that is just a matter of being more comfortable with the pitches I throw now and learning to throw a curveball in a fastball situation, just to keep hitters guessing.”