Jeannette grad Weightman completes season in high-level summer baseball league
TribLIVE Sports Videos
This was no community rec league.
Jeannette native Brian Weightman just completed the season with the Geneva Red Wings of the New York Collegiate Baseball League, a serious summer baseball league for collegiate players.
After all, Weightman — who will be a senior on the St. Bonaventure University baseball team in the fall — is a serious player.
“I think the season went pretty well,” he said. “It was a good experience.”
Weightman, an outfielder, played for Johnstown of the All-American Amateur Baseball Association in each of the past two summers.
While the AAABA is also a league that features college baseball players, the NYCBL features players from a broader geographic area, meaning the talent level is a bit higher.
“They're similar leagues in that it's college players,” he said. “But this year, it was more players from all over the country. The competition level was pretty high.”
In the NYCBL, batting numbers are generally lower than most players are used to with their college teams due not only to the increased level of competition, but also the fact that wooden bats are used, unlike the aluminum bats of the NCAA.
Weightman hit .231 with 18 hits and 16 RBIs in 28 games with the Red Wings.
“At the beginning of the year, I was struggling a little bit, just getting back into it,” he said. “But the second half of the year, I started playing pretty well.”
The most significant stat for Weightman, however, was that he accumulated 78 at-bats in approximately six weeks.
The local product has been largely a reserve at NCAA Division I St. Bonaventure — last year with the Bonnies, he had just 33 at-bats — so accumulating significant, meaningful at-bats has been a challenge.
In fact, that's the primary reason he played in the summer league.
“My coach at St. Bonaventure encourages us to play somewhere in the summer, to keep getting reps,” said Weightman. “Getting a lot of at-bats was big. Just being up there, being around baseball, helps, too.
“We had morning workouts, and then the games would be at night. We would work on fielding, fly-balls, whatever you needed to work on. We kept getting reps with everything. Being in the summer, you had all the time in the world to work on things.”
Beyond the on-field baseball, the NYCBL teaches those off-the-field baseball lessons, too. For one thing, the league is set up much like a professional minor league.
In addition to using wooden bats, the players take busses from small town to small town for games, and they live together in dormitories, which helped to quickly build team chemistry.
“That's pretty much how they set it up for us, to be like the minor leagues,” said Weightman. “They're trying to get that sort of feel and create that experience.”
With summer baseball behind him, Weightman is now focused on his last year of college baseball. It starts with fall ball at the end of August, then the official collegiate season in the spring.
“I took a day off after the (NYCBL) season, then got right back into the weight room,” said Weightman. “I'm keeping up with my cage swings, staying as sharp as possible, for when I go back to school in the fall.”
Weightman's goals for his final season are clear: he wants to be a starter. The summer he spent playing in the NYCBL should be a help.
“I'm hoping to become a full-time starter, but coach isn't going to give it to you,” he said. “I'll have to earn it.”
Brian Knavish is a contributing writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Alvarez homer triggers winning outburst for Pirates
- Apple Hill Playhouse takes on an updated ‘Snow White’
- Pirates get journeyman Ishikawa off waivers; outfielder Marte injured
- PennDOT team decides what spells trouble on vehicle license plates
- Clairton summer workshop helps students improve writing skills
- Man charged with passing counterfeit bills at Rivers Casino
- Westmoreland County on pace to surpass record for drug-related fatalities
- Woman shot at Kennywood Park in ‘freak accident’
- Don’t remove history’s lessons
- McCutchen, Pirates hitters increasingly in crosshairs
- Gameday: Pirates vs. Padres, July 6, 2015