July 12, 2007
Orlando, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - The Cape Cod League is one of the best collegiate baseball summer league in the nation, and UCF's Kiko Vazquez has definitely been enjoying his time there. Playing for the Hyannis Mets, located in Hyannis, Mass., Vazquez is not only going up against some of the country's top pitchers every day, he also hits the links working as a caddy.
Vazquez, who will be a junior in 2008 and led the Knights in batting average, doubles, homers, RBI and on-base percentage last year, has noticed that the arms that take the mound are very tough, especially with the CCL being a wood-bat league.
"The pitchers here are really good. They know how to pitch and they know how to get you out," said Vazquez. "Every pitcher that goes out there is their school's Friday night guy and when he comes out, there is another Friday night guy waiting. So every game you are facing a Friday starter. The pitchers have excellent command of every pitch. They also have better strike out pitches like change-ups, sliders, curve balls, splitters, etc."
UCF's first baseman is mixing in a little time at designated hitter as well with the Mets, and has a key area he is concentrating on at the plate.
"The one thing I am focusing on is not getting myself out," commented Vazquez. "This year at UCF I wanted to cut down on my strikeouts which I did a lot, but I was still swinging at pitches out of the strike zone. I'm trying to do a better job of hitting my pitch and mistake pitches instead of going after the pitcher's pitch."
Away from the field, the Cape Cod League has been known to have some of the best fans around and the locals try to make college players feel like some of their own thanks to some gracious hospitality.
"The people are awesome up here," said Vazquez. "Everyone knows when it's baseball season and everyone knows that you play baseball. I ended up with the best host family for our team. They are wonderful people and they treat me like I am their kid. Mostly everywhere you go if you say you play for the Hyannis Mets you get treated very well."
The Cape also helps players find summer work when they are not on the diamond. Vazquez is taking advantage of that opportunity.
"I got a job working at a golf course doing some caddying," said Vazquez. "You can carry one bag for $30 or two for $60, so it's $30 a bag plus tips. Last Saturday I carried two bags and made $100 from 7 to 10:30 a.m. I enjoy it, you meet new people from different places and you can go whenever you want to go."
Vazquez's season began in mid-June, with the CCL's playoffs getting underway Aug. 10.
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