July 29, 2005
The final line score read like many others in the paper the next morning with the Brewster Whitecaps beating the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox, 7-5, at Red Wilson Field in Yarmouth, Mass., in one of five games played in the prestigious Cape Cod League on July 19. Despite being out-hit in the game, Brewster scored six runs in the sixth inning to gain the win.
Just another mid-summer game in the most prestigious summer league for college players in the nation you might ask? Not for Seminole baseball fans.
A closer look at the boxscore and into the lineups of both teams would soon reveal a Florida State flair with Ryne Malone penciled in as the starting third baseman for the Whitecaps and Bryan Henry as the starter in leftfield for the Red Sox.
Malone and Henry are two of five Seminoles who began the summer in the Cape Cod League. In addition to Malone and Henry, pitcher Mark Sauls is playing for the Hyannis Mets, pitcher Barrett Browning is a member of the Cotuit Keetleers and until the last week of July, pitcher Hunter Jones was playing for the Orleans Cardinals. Jones has since signed a professional contract with the Boston Red Sox organization and is currently pitching for the Class A Lowell Spinners in Massachusetts. All five Seminoles are playing well and strengthening the Florida State baseball tradition in the Cape League.
Malone and Henry visited with seminoles.com following the game on July 19, and talked about the experiences they will bring back to campus in the fall, hitting with wooden bats and how they have improved as players during the summer.
Tell Us About Your Experiences Of Playing In The Cape Code League
Ryne Malone: Having the opportunity to play in the Cape League has been a lot of fun and a real learning experience. You get into a lot of situations that you don’t always see in college mainly with the incredible pitching you see every night. The pitching is difficult to hit. It humbles you every night you go out there. But, all in all it’s a great form of baseball – it’s major league level baseball – and that’s what I came up here for.
Bryan Henry: Being up here and playing in this league has been a blast. It’s a great learning experience being able to play with and against the best college players in the country. I have the chance to come out to the field every day and learn something new. It’s an amazing experience. The fans really love baseball up here and there are more than 1,000 people at every game. After the games, all of the little kids who are at the game want your autograph. We are well respected, and we respect everybody up here. It’s fun for us coming up here and it’s fun for the people who take us into their world. It’s a learning experience that I hope I am getting everything I can from being here.
Hitting With Wooden Bats Is A Different Experience. What Are the Differences Between Hitting With Wooden Bats As Compared To Hitting With Aluminum Bats?
Ryne Malone: Hitting with wooden bats is a challenge. Once you get up to the plate, you don’t really notice that you have a wooden bat in your hands. It’s hitting, and hitting is hitting, so you never really notice. There are some balls you hit off the end of the bat or off of the handle that you get hits with aluminum bats but not with wooden bats because they are not as forgiving.
Bryan Henry: It’s been a big adjustment for me. The wooden bats tell you with every swing if you have put a good swing on the ball or if you have put a bad swing on the ball. You see the results in both batting practice and in the games. You can’t hit cappers or off the handle; you pretty much have to hit every ball solidly. It’s been fun making the adjustment and trying to get my swing down.
What Positions Are You Playing?
Ryne Malone: I have been playing third and shortstop – all around the infield really. It’s kind of like at school – I’ll play wherever the coaches need me to play.
Bryan Henry: I am trying to learn. I don’t really care where they put me in the lineup as long as I am playing. Tonight I started in left field and finished the game at first. I am pitching when I am not on the field so I’m getting some great experience. I’m just trying to stay sharp. I’m not sure what the plans are for next season, but I want to stay sharp at the plate. I’m just hoping to get better and fit in anywhere I can back at school.
What Do You Do When You re Not Playing Baseball at Night?
Ryne Malone: Unfortunately, I don’t have a job. I got up here a couple of weeks later than most of the players because our season went so well and longer than most of the other players. When I arrived all of the jobs were already filled. I am relaxing; this is almost like a semi-vacation. I can’t complain at all. The area is great, the weather is great and the competition is awesome.
Bryan Henry: We work camps most every day, so that serves as our job. It’s just like working the Mike Martin camp back at school. Working with the kids is great and there are so many of them who want to learn to play the game of baseball. It’s a lot of fun to work with kids who are receptive to what you are teaching them.
How Have You Improved As A Player So Far This Summer?
Ryne Malone: I have learned a lot about myself and continue to learn more and more with each game we play. You are in situations every game that you are not in while playing college baseball – especially hitting wise. I have learned to be a much better hitter.
Bryan Henry: I have learned a lot of things that are have helped me improve my mental approach to the game. You have to pitch every pitch and you can’t take any pitches off. When you are hitting, you have to be on your toes during each at bat. As a pitcher, being up here has been huge for me. There were times during the spring season at Florida State were I would get lazy with a pitch and make a mistake. If you do that one time up here – these guys are the best hitters in the country – they will easily hit a home run or smoke one right back at you. My pitching coach up here has helped me a lot with staying on track and has helped me with my change-up and my two-seam fastball. Everyday is something new and it has been a great learning experience so far.
What Will You Take From The Cape League Back To Florida State?
Ryne Malone: The two main things I am going to take with me are more patience and more experience from the many new situations I have learned from so far. You are challenged so much here by the incredible pitchers. They are tough to hit because they throw so hard and they come right at you with strikes. I think I have walked maybe three or four times since I’ve been up here. They come at you throwing strikes. You have to go up there and be ready to hit every time. When the spring comes around, I’m going to know my strike zone a lot better.
What Are Your Living Arrangements?
Ryne Malone: I live with a host family and they have been just great. They are wonderful people and they have taken care of since I arrived.
Bryan Henry: My host family has been wonderful. They have taken me in with open arms and I love being with them. This is a great area to be in. After a game we get a meal and spend a lot of time getting to know our teammates. We work camp most every morning, so I haven’t gone out too much because there are some early mornings.
What Is The Experience Of Playing Against Florida State Teammates Like?
Ryne Malone: Playing against one of my Seminole teammates is like a breath of fresh air to see some guys you know. Many of the guys we play against are from the West Coast and from other regions of the country. It was really nice to see Brian and to get the chance to catch up with him before the game. It’s nice to know somebody is in the same shoes as you up here. Mark Sauls is with the Hyannis team and we actually played them a couple of nights ago. He pitched against us and I did pretty good against him.
How Long Will You Be On The Cape? How Long Does the Season Last?
Bryan Henry: The regular season runs through August 7 and then there are playoffs. We are in third place right now so hopefully we can make a run into the playoffs.