With his college baseball season cut short due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, Mike Cook got the work he needed from the Cranberry League.
Mike Cook’s freshman campaign on the diamond at Babson College was cut short in March due to COVID-19. While it was a decision he was expecting, that didn’t make it any easier to handle.
“The entire team was devastated when we heard the college season was canceled,” Cook said. “We started off the year winning two of three games from one of the top teams (College of Trinity) in the nation and were poised to have a special year, building on all of the work we put in during the offseason.”
Cook never got on the field during the Beavers’ first three games. So he knew, he had to find a way to stay sharp. He began the summer simulating live games with local athletes from schools, such as Babson, Harvard and Dartmouth. Then, he got word the Cranberry League was planning to play ball.
“To get the news that there would be a season for the Cranberry was really exciting, everyone was dying to get back on the field to play some ball games,” said Cook, a three-time Patriot League Keenan Division All-Star at Whitman-Hanson Regional High.
Cook joined the Weymouth Shamrocks with a few of his college teammates and the experience was beneficial.
“Being able to put to work and refine the plethora of skills I learned from freshman year fall baseball and winter practices while in games was really gratifying,” Cook said. “I feel like I was also able to really focus on hitting and work out a bunch of bad habits I had developed in my swing during the course of the season and feel really good moving forward, something that only in-game at bats help you figure out.”
Shamrocks general manager Brian Fisher noticed the improvement.
“Mike’s bat really heated up midway through the season and throughout the playoffs,” Fisher said. “His calling card was his defense and [he] was a rock in the infield for us.”
At the plate, Cook hit .306 for the Shamrocks, who fell to the eventual league champions, Braintree White Sox, in the playoffs. In the field, Cook started the season at third base, before he was plugged in at shortstop as an injury replacement.
“We work really hard on the small details at Babson that others sometimes overlook and being able to use the entire summer to nail down my pre-pitch movements, internal clock, and routes to the ball helped me take my game to the next level in the field that I’ve never had in my arsenal before,” Cook said.
And Cook said he’s going to continue to hone in on his skills as he sets his sights on his sophomore campaign.
“I’m working everyday in the gym to get stronger and quicker for when we’re able to get back to game competition,” Cook said. “I approach everyday to make not only myself better, but more importantly to make everyone around me better. I’m overly optimistic about having our season in the spring and I feel like I have to have that mindset, because I’ve worked everyday with the expectation that it will be played since we got sent home last school year.”