By, Brandon Rebboah
Note: Summer and baseball have always seemed to fit together perfectly. For fans of the game, summer is a time to enjoy the sights, sounds and atmosphere of America's pastime, but for college baseball players, it is a time for development. College players across the country, including members of the Santa Clara baseball squad, have already left for their summer experiences just weeks after finals as they begin preparation for the 2013 season.
After a much-improved 2012 campaign on the Mission Campus, Bronco ball players now occupy rosters throughout the nation in summer leagues that are helping them grow as players. Santa Clara is represented in nine different leagues from the Bay Area to New England, while others play for independent teams. The "All Summer Long" series, in its second season, will chronicle the Broncos as they play in various summer leagues nationwide, and in Canada as well.
REGINA, Saskatchewan - As his fellow teammates prepare for the 2013 season across the United States, Brock Simon right-handed pitcher is having somewhat of a homecoming. Simon, who is originally from Toronto, Ontario, is back in Canada. Simon, a soon-to-be senior on the Mission Campus, is prepping for his final year in a Bronco uniform while playing for the Regina Red Sox in Saskatchewan, Canada.
Simon moved from Canada to California where he and his older brother Thain (who also pitched for Santa Clara) attended Jesuit High School in Sacramento. Simon has spent three years in a Santa Clara uniform and has proven he can assume several roles on the pitching staff. During his career, the righty has started 25 games but has also been a productive reliever for the Broncos. Although he battled an injury midway through his junior campaign in 2012, Simon finished with a 2-2 record after appearing in 11 contests, including nine starts. During his 56.2 innings, he fanned 32 batters and allowed batters a .283 average against him. Looking forward to 2013, Simon can be a viable starter for Santa Clara, or a long-relief option for the Broncos.
Now in his final summer league season Simon is hoping to win a title in the Western Major Baseball League. The WMBL has 11 teams in Canada. The league's schedule spans from the end of May through July.
Regina is tearing through the WMBL. Simon and the Red Sox clinched the Presidents' Trophy, the league's best regular-season record (currently 33-10). By winning the Presidents' Trophy, Regina clinches home field advantage through the entire WMBL playoffs. Under the WMBL format, three teams from the East and West Division and two teams from the Central Division make the playoffs in a two-bracket playoff. Regina bested the Weyburn Beavers in the first round and is set to battle the Moose Jaw Millers in the East Division Final.
Simon has done his part to help Regina secure its playoff spot. Simon has started three contests for Regina, pitching a total of 21 innings. The Bronco pitcher is a perfect 3-0 for the Red Sox. In his third start, Simon received plenty of run support as Regina downed Melville 13-5. Simon tossed five innings and picked up the win while striking out five.
After his three gritty wins, in which he has gone at least five innings for Regina, the only thing that stopped Simon from pitching well was a tornado. Simon was on his way to 4-0 when a tornado forced the game to be called without a decision.
"I now know why they call Saskatchewan the land of the living skies," laughed Simon.
In his most recent outing, the Bronco righty allowed three runs in four innings of work, but was not awarded a decision in a 7-5 victory over Saskatoon.
Even for a Canadian citizen, after spending time away from Canada, Simon is trying to adjust, but he's excited to bring his Canadian experiences back to the Mission Campus.
"There are some things that are a little strange in Canada, even for a Canadian citizen like me who has been living in the States for a while. Everything is in kilometers up here and I still haven't gotten use to seeing 100 as a speed limit. The weather is done in celcius which is a little odd as well. I went to a professional Canadian football game the other day and those rules really through me for a loop, at one point the score was 4-1. Overall, the experience has been awesome. I'm excited for the upcoming playoffs, and bringing back what I have learned to Santa Clara this fall."
To keep up with Simon and the Regina Red Sox's push for the Western Major Baseball League title, click here.