There's Norton Angle to Brockton Rox
Norton High standouts, coach to spend summer with Rox in Futures Collegiate Baseball League.
All you would have to do is drop a few letters, and the switch could be made rather quickly.
Easily, they could be the Norton Rox or the Brockton Lancers, but the team Norton High head coach Ted Currle and former Lancers A.J. Bashaw and Sean Ryan will be involved with this summer is called the Brockton Rox of the Future Collegiate Baseball League.
With Currle, Bashaw and Ryan on the squad, it is going to feel like a Lancer reunion.
"It's great to be able to play here," said Bashaw. "It should be a lot of fun and it's good to be playing for our coach again. He is always looking out for us."
The Rox will open up the season Friday night against Martha's Vineyard in a 7:05 p.m. start at Campanelli Stadium in Brockton.
Currle was the head coach at Martha's Vineyard a year and will be the Rox's associate head coach, working with former Brockton outfielder Jud Thigpen. Bashaw is a member of the pitching staff, while Ryan, a standout at Wheaton College, is in the outfield.
After being an independent professional team, the Rox are being re-born as a college wooden bat summer league team. The season will end Aug. 9.
For the players, it will be a chance to showcase their talents to professional scouts against a high-level of competition.
"This is a great brand of baseball," said Currle, a longtime summer collegiate-level baseball coach. "They are a lot of good arms here and the pitching is much better. Obviously, the hitters are more talented.
"It's more about the mental approach and working hard."
Currle played at Division 1 George Washington University. He coached in summer leagues for 10 years in the Washington D.C. area before becoming the first coach of Martha's Vineyard franchise in its rookie season a year.
Thigpen said he doesn't plan to change a lot of the swings or pitching styles of his players, but he does want them to get to use playing a lot of games in a short period of time, like they will in professional baseball.
"These guys all have bright futures ahead of them," said the Rox head coach. "The toughest thing is to experience playing every day, taking all of the bus rides, getting in at 2 or 3 in the morning and then have to play the next day."
While players will be preparing for college with the Rox, the league is expected to attract major league scouts every night. Thigpen can promise there will always be a pro scout in the stands.
He recently agreed to be a "bird dog" scout for the Colorado Rockies, who signed him out of college. The "bird scouts" feed information to the team's regular scouts.
"I tell them they will be playing in front of at least one scout a night...me," said Thigpen.
Ryan is one of the players scouts will be focusing in on this year as he gets ready to enter his senior at Wheaton. He was a second team All-American after leading the Lyons to the Division 3 College World Series.
The 6'0'', 170-pounder will turn 21 on Sunday and is coming off a college season where he batted .384 average with three homers with 37 RBI and 30 stolen bases.
"Sean has a lot of ability and experience to go with it," Currle said.
Besides coaching him in baseball, Currle was an assistant coach when Ryan was one of the top running backs in the state his senior year, scoring 36 touchdowns as the Lancers were the Super Bowl runner-ups.
"I miss it all the time," Ryan said of football, "but I like baseball better."
Ryan hasn't lost the aggressiveness he showed running the ball for Norton, but he must work on not being that way at plate.
"I need to have better plate discipline," he said. "I want to control my aggression."
Being close to home and playing against a high caliber of talent should help Ryan get a chance at professional baseball. He missed playing last summer because of an injury.
"I had a couple of days off after the World Series and it's been tough with the weather," said Ryan, "(but) this is a highly competitive league."
The 6'2'', 230-pound Bashaw went from being a starter at Norton High where he was 7-2 as a senior with an incredible 1.07 ERA in 65 innings with 86 strikeouts as the Lancers won the state tournament in 2011. Bashaw was the Tri-Valley League Pitcher of the Year. Brockton teammate John Sheehan won the same award at Westwood High.
At New Jersey Institute of Technology, Bashaw appeared in four games out of the bullpen as a freshman, going three innings.
"It was a different experience," he said. "This was a learning experience."
"AJ didn't a chance to pitch a lot," added Currie. "He will be facing a lot of good hitters and it will be fun to watch him."
While they probably won't change the name on the front of the uniform from Brockton to Norton, the former Lancers have had success on the Campanelli Stadium turf, playing there in the state tournament.
"We're 2-0 here," said Currie of the Brockton Lancers or Norton Rox.
To keep up with the Norton High trio, be sure to purchase your Brockton Rox tickets and catch a game.