BALTIMORE, MD – The Johns Hopkins baseball team has seen its share of success on the field, winning 14 Centennial Tournament Titles, making three College World Series and amassing 1,473 wins for a .605 winning percentage in its 121 seasons as a varsity program. Under head coach Bob Babb, the Blue Jays have 1,107 wins for an impressive .729 winning percentage in his 38 seasons at the helm. Babb and his staff have produced 13 Centennial Players of the Year and nine Centennial Pitchers of the Year, while 13 players have gone onto sign professional contracts. All of the on-field success is great, however, it is what these student-athletes do during the off season and after they graduate that makes them stand apart.
ON THE FIELD:
• Alex Ross was a starting pitcher in the Northwoods League for the Bismark Larks where he started seven games with a 3.37 ERA in 34.2 innings. The senior right hander also struck out 26 batters.
• Josh Hejka also excelled on the mound this summer as he was named First Team All-League in the Cal Ripken League. Hejka was a starting pitcher for the Baltimore Red Birds and pitched 38 innings with an impressive 0.94 ERA. The right hander surrendered just nine walks and struck out 29. He was also selected to play in the 5th annual Southeast Prospect Showcase and was named the starting pitcher for the Cal Ripken All-Star Game.
• Conor Reynolds batted .302 for the Utica Unicorns in the United Shore League, where he has signed a professional contract. The middle infielder registered 16 hits and eight RBI in 16 games. He had a .415 OBP and .792 OPS and stole five bases.
• Raul Shah also signed a professional contract with the Plattsburgh Redbirds in the Empire League and over the summer he batted .304 with 32 RBI.
• Preston Betz and Sean McCracken both played for the Charlottesville Tom Sox, which won the league and were named the top summer league team in the country. Betz pitched 26.2 innings and struck out 23 batters while McCracken pitched 38 innings with an ERA of 1.65, as he walked just nine batters while striking out 27. He was named First Team All-Conference.
OFF THE FIELD:
Betz and McCracken had exciting summers off the field as well, as both had internships in Charlottesville. Betz interned at Apex Clean Energy while McCracken spent his time off the field at HemoShear, a bio-tech company.
Apex focuses research and development of renewable energy sources and is beginning to increase their solar productions. Betz, an Earth and Planetary Science major, spent time working with the Business Development team where he collected data for projects and automated processes within their data systems. The junior would be up at 7:30 am, arrive at the office by nine and once his day was over he would head over to the baseball diamond and would often not return to his host family’s home until after midnight.
McCracken, who is a Chemical and Bio-Molecular Engineering major, worked 9-3 at HemoShear as one of four interns who were all lab techs. McCracken spent his time looking into fatty liver disease and what potential drugs could help with the disease. For the junior, this internship was much more technical and provided more real-life experiences and assured him that this is the route he wants to go down once he graduates. McCracken says he hopes to eventually acquire a PhD in research or Intellectual Property Pharmacy once his baseball days are done.
For both players, balancing a job and baseball provided many challenges, but the summer experience helped them both academically and athletically. McCracken said that for him, the on-field success over the summer proved to him that he has the ability to be a top pitcher for Hopkins while his internship opened his eyes to the career path he would like to take once his baseball days are done.
Fall ball is in full swing for the Blue Jays who will open the regular season on February 24 against St. John Fisher. Check out the complete schedule here.