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`Cats Find Success in Summer Leagues

Jake Madsen

July 28, 2014

By Christian Hoppens
OhioBobcats.com - Staff Writer

In his junior year for the Bobcats, first baseman Jake Madsen batted .322 with an on-base percentage of .387, earning him All-Mid-American Conference Second Team honors.

But despite the accolades, Madsen wasn't satisfied with his performance at the dish last season and is using his time playing for the Falmouth Falcons of the Cape Cod League to help straighten out some of those kinks.

"I'm always working on my game, (focusing) on driving the ball," Madsen said. "I feel like last year, I swung at a lot of bad pitches, so I'm kind of working on my pitch selection."

So far, Madsen's work in the summer league for the Falmouth Falcons has paid off, resulting in a .341 batting average and an OPS of .914--good for second on the team. His play hasn't gone unnoticed either, as the Cincinnati-native earned a trip to the Cape Cod All-Star team, where he reached base and scored a run in the West Division's 5-0 victory against the East Division.

Madsen's teammates in the league come from all across the nation, with players from elite baseball programs such as Arizona, Louisiana State and UCLA peppering the rosters.

So far, the senior first baseman is embracing the experience to meet new people and gain valuable playing experience in a region he's never visited before.

The Cape Cod League is located in Massachusetts, with all 10 teams in the league located closely to each other.

On top of working on his game, the opportunity to spend the summer in the New England area has also given Madsen the chance to take a deep breath and unwind.

"I'm thinking I'm more relaxed," he said. "I don't know why that is. Maybe it's just the place or the environment I'm in. I'm just more relaxed and just trying to have fun and I think that's carried over to my play."

Getting involved with this summer league was mostly the work of head coach Rob Smith, who has a prior relationship with Falmouth manager Jeff Trundy.

Smith had recommended former Creighton player Darin Ruf to Trundy in the past. Ruf had great success in the league and is now in the Philadelphia Phillies organization, spending parts of three seasons with the big league club.

"Typically, over the years, you'll establish relationships with certain summer organizations," Smith said. "And normally, if you place quality players with them, they'll tend to take your word for future players that you recommend."

So far, Smith's suggestions of Ohio players for summer leagues has gone successfully thus far, with Taylor Emody (Prospect League), Jake Miller (Great Lakes League), Garrett Black (New England League) and incoming recruit Manuel DeJesus (Prospect League) all earning spots in their league's all-star teams.

The third-year Ohio coach is proud of how Madsen has performed thus far in summer league play and said that this is a good opportunity for his players to continue their development in their months away from Athens.

"It provides that avenue for them to get better through playing in games," Smith said. "So it's been really productive for those kids and it's encouraging for us moving forward. I'm very, very excited about the possibilities of our team and the growth the players in the summer leagues have shown so far."