9:30 a.m., Aug. 23)
Leaguer chases his dream south of the border
By Fred Sherwin
alumnus Chris Bisson is chasing his dream of one day playing professional
baseball as he earns a degree at the University of Kentucky. Fred Sherwin/Photo
By his own
admission Chris Bisson was a terrible baseball player.
I was awful.
I spent most of my time in the outfield and I couldnt hit very well,
the Orleans native told a group of Gloucester Little Leaguers at a recent
clinic. But I worked really hard and I had a bit of a growth spurt
and I started getting better.
out playing softball, Bisson made the switch to hardball when he was 13.
While he was in Orleans Little League he spent countless hours working on
the basic fundamentals of hitting, catching and fielding.
During the winter
he practiced in his basement, throwing tennis balls against the wall and
then snagging them with his glove as he dove onto a mattress he had placed
on the floor.
hard work paid off when he was selected to play for the Ottawa Nepean Canadians
In his second
year with the Canadians, he made the U17 provincial team which won the gold
medal at the 2006 Canada Cup. As a result of his outstanding play he was
selected to play on Baseball Canadas junior national develop.m.ent team.
That same year he was offered a full scholarship by the University of Kentucky.
He played in 27 games as a freshman and was 8-for-51 at the plate for a
.165 batting average.
During the summer
he played in the New York Collegiate League and batted .301 with 34 runs,
two doubles, a triple, three homers and 18 RBI. He also drew a team high
25 walks and stole 17-of-18 bases.
This past season
he earned a regular spot in the Wildcats infield. He started in 52 of 53
games and batted .360 with nine doubles, three triples, two homers and 52
RBI. He led the team in at bats (222) hits (80), RBI (52), and walks (20).
He was also second in stolen bases (13).
He ended up being
named First Team All-SEC which attracted the attention of teams in the Cape
The Cape Cod
League is a showcase summer league which brings together the top first and
second year university players in the United States.
There are only two ways you can get drafted by a Major League Baseball team.
The first draft is for students coming out of high school, the second is
for students heading into their final year of university.
heading into their third year of university, playing in the Cape Cod League
gives them an opportunity to get some exposure. More importantly it gives
Major League scouts the perfect opportunity to evaluate the top university
prospects in the country.
is like an all-star game, says Bisson who played second, short and
third with the Cotuit Kettlers. In the SEC you could count on having
two or three at bats where you would get to see some pretty good pitches.
In Cape Cod the slowest pitcher I faced could throw the ball 92 mph.
Bisson was asked
to play on three different teams before Cotuit offered him a regular spot
in their lineup.
from the SEC to the Cape Cod League was a rough one, but after going 5-for-42
in his first 11 games he went on a five game hitting streak. He ended up
batting a respectable .269 with five doubles and 15 RBI. But it was on the
base paths that Bisson really raised some eyebrows, stealing a league leading
finished the 42-game regular season in second place in the West Division.
They made it to the league championship before losing in two games to the
performance was good enough to attract the attention of a number of Major
League scouts. Now that hes on their radar he must continue to improve
his game if he hopes to get drafted next summer.
all about how you do in the spring, says Bisson who plans to work
on his defense during the winter.
During his time
in Cotuit, Bisson roomed with a local family, the Ellises. Meg and Jim Ellis
have opened up their home to local players for the past three years. They
have an 11-year-old son, Wyatt, who Bisson says is an avid ball player and
a stats junkie.
all about the stats. He was really into everything, says Bisson who
makes a point of working with young ball players when ever he gets the chance.
During the clinic
he gave the Gloucester Little Leaguers, he stressed theimportance
of practicing and hard work. He also spoke about the need to get good grades,
especially if they have any desire of one day landing a scholarship.
important to concentrate on school and get good grades, Bisson told
the group of 11 and 12-year-olds.
Who knows, perhaps
one of them will one day follow in his footsteps and earn a degree while
playing a sport they love.
was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local
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