Ozark Summer baseball draws athletes across the country

Sports

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The Show-Me Collegiate League down here at US Baseball Park in Ozark has been a great option for local players to get some summer reps since 2016.

But this year, it may be one of the only options for players far further than just the Ozarks.

“I knew that there wasn’t many that were going to play, so I was surprised that it ended up happening,” league player Quinn Stebbins said.

This summer Stebbins, a Maine native and Thomas College Pitcher, was expecting to be working with the Cape Cod League in Massachusetts for the second straight year.

But COVID-19 forced the cancellation of one of the nation’s top summer baseball leagues.

“I kind of figured it was going to happen because the Northeast is pretty rough right now with the pandemic,” Stebbins said.

Luckily for him, one of his Cape Cod Coworkers, Aaron Meyer, also happened to be the Commissioner of Ozark’s collegiate league.

“He said out here wasn’t bad, so I said why not come out here and have fun,” Stebbins said.

He even got to bring a plus one, choosing Thomas teammate Ryan Scepansky even over his own brother who also plays at their college.

“Yeah, yeah. His brother was kind of upset about that,” Scepansky said laughing.

“We were looking for pitchers and I love Ryan,” Stebbins said. “I decided he’d be a good fit for me to take this long trip with.”

The pair from Maine were eager to get some valuable summer reps in.

“Really excited. I mean, just excited to see what a baseball game is going to be like,” Stebbins said. “It’s been since October since we played in one.”

“It’s very important,” Scepansky said. “I think you’re going to see a lot of good things coming from kids in this league who are able to see live pitching, live batting. As opposed to those kids that maybe can go out and throw once or twice a week, just hitting the cage. I think it’s really going to help our development.”

But just cause the focus is on baseball and safety, doesn’t mean the pair isn’t taking a little time to explore only the most beautiful sights of the Ozarks.

“Our host family took us to Andy’s, which I’d never been to,” Scepansky said. “That was pretty cool. We also went to Lambert’s which was also pretty cool, seeing kind of like the local area.”

But for the pair, just getting to play baseball is the most exciting part of the trip – even if the diamond return comes with a little rust.

“Probably a bit,” Stebbins said. “But we’ll work through it.”

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