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'(Posted 9:30 a.m., Aug. 23)
Former Little Leaguer chases his dream south of the border
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Beatrice-Desloges 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 couldn’t 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.”

After starting 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.

Bisson’s hard work paid off when he was selected to play for the Ottawa Nepean Canadians in 2005.

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 Canada’s 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 Cod League.

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.

For students 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.

“Every game 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.

The transition 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 36 bases.

The Kettlers 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 Bourne Braves.

Bisson’s performance was good enough to attract the attention of a number of Major League scouts. Now that he’s on their radar he must continue to improve his game if he hopes to get drafted next summer.

“It’s 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.

“He’s 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.

“It’s 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.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)


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