The uncertainty of whether the California Collegiate League (CCL) will be played in 2020 has three baseball players from one school on the Central Coast heading across the country to play summer ball. KSBY Sports Director, Neil Hebert, reports.
Arroyo Grande seniors, Braden Zickuhr, Peter Rodriguez, and Brady Lachemann are heading to the South – the Deep South – to Alabama to play baseball this summer.
“(Coach) Madsen asked me, ‘Do you want to play in the South?’ I was like, ‘Sweet! The South! Like LA? I don’t know how we’re going to play there.’ And he’s like, ‘No; Alabama, Georgia,’” said Zickuhr with a smile.
A change in location, culture, and maybe the biggest difference, a change in humidity for the trio, but an opportunity not many are blessed with.
“It’s amazing. It’s something I never thought would happen. It’s not every day that you get to go across the country and play for a few months,” said Rodriguez, a Cuesta College commit. “And play with all these top people that are going into the draft or Power-5 schools.”
“We’re making the best out of a bad situation. It’s going to be better than anything that would have happened if everything was normal,” said Zickuhr, a Cuesta College commit. “I think we’ll be able to grow more as players because it’s going to be baseball 24/7.”
The three will play for Top Gun in Oxford, Alabama for the next couple months. AG assistant, Bryan Madsen, who also coaches for the USA National Team, knows the coach and set them up with a place to play.
“It’s usually the opposite; a lot of them want to come here and play. But for them, it will be a good experience,” said Madsen. “It’s a different perspective. I think they’ll grow as humans as well as baseball. Just to go and see how other people live and realize that we get stuck in this microcosm in San Luis, but there’s a whole other world out there. They can meet some new people and mature as human beings also.”
Their flight leaves at 6am Tuesday morning, and for Zickuhr, it will mark his first time leaving the State of California, and his first time getting on a plane.
“It will be good preparation for life. It’s going to expand my knowledge of the world, never leaving this little town of Arroyo Grande. It’s going to be a different culture in the South,” said Zickuhr.
Lachemann, a University of Colorado Colorado Springs commit, says they’re ready to play ball.
“It’s my first time being away from home. It’s going to be a crazy experience,” said Lachemann. “It will definitely be life-changing. It’s going to be a completely different set-up of life. We’re ready for it.”