Elite Holyoke Blue Sox to take on NECBL in annual All-Star Game

Seven Holyoke Blue Sox have been selected to compete in the NECBL All-Star game and Skills Competition on July 18. (top row) Outfielder Jim Wood; third baseman Jake Rosenbeck. (bottom row) Outfielder and second baseman Cooper Blanc; first baseman Murray Watts and outfielder Stephen Arcure. Not pictured are right handed pitcher Chase Brewer and catcher Zach Wright.
Reminder Publications photo by Katelyn Gendron
By Katelyn Gendron

Reminder Assistant Editor

HOLYOKE -- For the Holyoke Blue Sox everyday is in the words of the late Harry Caray -- "a bee-yooo-tiful day for baseball," especially for the select seven chosen to be part of the New England Collegiate Baseball League's (NECBL) elite.

Four Blue Sox have been selected to play on the Western Division All-Star Team and three others will participate in the Skill Competition prior to the NECBL All-Star Game on July 18 at MacKenzie Stadium.

Blue Sox outfielder Jim Wood, third baseman Jake Rosenbeck, outfielder Stephen Arcure and right-handed pitcher Chase Brewer will take the field as members of the Western Division All-Star Team. Blue Sox catcher Zach Wright, outfielder Cooper Blanc and Rosenbeck will compete in the Skill Competition; first baseman Murray Watts will challenge the league's best in the Home Run Derby.

"We're excited that we have this kind of talent here in Holyoke," Barry Wadsworth, general manager, chief operations officer and principal owner of the Holyoke Blue Sox, said. "These are the top players in the country. You're basically looking at 30 players in that field [at the All-Star Game] that will be drafted in the major leagues."

He added that approximately 4,000 people are expected to attend the game and Skill Competition, run by Major League Baseball.

"It's awesome and a great honor [to be named to the Western Division All-Star Team]," Rosenbeck, a league leader in doubles, said. "I can't wait to get out there ... [and] let my playing [ability] speak for itself."

When asked if he believed himself to be one of the NECBL's best, Rosenbeck replied, "You've got to think you are good to be good." He added there's a certain confidence and mental stamina that must be paired with elite competition to ensure athletes will deliver under pressure.

Rosenbeck will also defend his title in the infield throw competition prior to the game.

"I'm ecstatic!" Wood said of being named to the All-Star Team for the second year.

He added, speaking with his usual grin, that the All-Star game provides him with a unique opportunity to play with and against the best in the league, while maintaining a "much more relaxed" environment than regular season games.

Wood has the Sox's highest batting average, .389, with 35 hits and 20 RBI.

Wood and Watts have two of the highest batting averages in the league. Watts boasts a .375 batting average.

Watts attributed his success at the plate to good pitch selection and his ability to "keep swinging well."

"I don't want to get myself out [with poor pitch selection]," he said with a chuckle.

The Skill Competition -- including the 60-yard dash with Blanc participating, infield throw, outfield throw and catcher throw with Wright participating -- will begin at 3:30 p.m. at MacKenzie Stadium, 500 Beech St. The Skill Competition will be followed by Home Run Derby and the NECBL All-Star Game at 6:30 p.m.

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