Aug. 9, 2001
TEMPE, Ariz. -- After a long season of 60 games spanning from January until June, all of which takes place with English books to read and history notes to study, the summer for Arizona State University baseball players is all but a time to sit by the pool and relax. While many of the Sun Devil players stayed home to play in the Arizona Collegiate Summer League, several traveled as far away as Anchorage, Alaska, and Falmouth, Mass., to sharpen their baseball skills as the trek to Omaha and the College World Series in 2002 is not that far off.
While most of the summer collegiate leagues scattered across the nation have ended, six Sun Devils have joined a conglomeration of 48 teams at the 67th Annual National Baseball Congress (NBC) World Series in Wichita, Kansas. Outfielders Rod Allen and Jon Sheaffer, along with junior pitcher Jered Liebeck are playing with the Anchorage Glacier Pilots. Designated hitter Jeremy West, and pitchers Franco Pezely and Ryan Schroyer are playing with the Liberal (Kansas) Beejays.
The Glacier Pilots are off to a 1-0 start in the NBC World Series after defeating the Southern (Alabama) Paw Sox last night. Allen, who entered the series with the team lead in batting at .314 (59x188) with 12 doubles, one triple and two home runs, was the Alaskan League leader with 24 stolen bases. Allen, who hit .389 and was a freshman All-American for the Devils in 2001, went 1-for-2 with an RBI and one run scored in the Glacier Pilot's 10-0 opening round game. Anchorage is scheduled to play Friday at 7:30 p.m. against Rock City, N.C.
The Beejays are off to a 2-0 start in the tournament, defeating the Kearney River Bandits 10-0 in their last game. West and Schroyer have both played in the games so far, while Pezely has yet to pitch for the Beejays.
In other summer league action, redshirt freshman pitcher Mark Sopko turned in a spectacular summer where he was 2-0 with a 2.21 ERA and 12 saves in 17 appearances. Sopko was named both a midseason and postseason Central Illinois Collegiate League All-Star and set league records for most saves in a season (12) and most consecutive shutout innings (32.0). A host of Sun Devils played in the Northwoods League, with Nick Walsh and Bryce Kartler playing for the Alexandria Beetles, while Ryan McKenna and Jon Gutierrez are with the Wisconsin Woodchucks in the league playoffs.
For complete coverage of the NBC World Series, log on to the official website at www.nbcbaseball.com.