ORLEANS, Mass. — Syosset’s Cameron Mayer is one of the intriguing rarities in the Cape Cod Baseball League this summer.
The rosters of the 10 teams annually feature the top players from the nation’s top programs. Many are destined to play professionally and some are coming through on their way to the big leagues, but every year there are a few previously undiscovered potential gems. Mayer, a 6-4 lefthander from Division III Tufts, is just that.
“I watch a lot of college baseball on TV and now I am playing against them,” Mayer said. “But it is a little weird when they have to ask you a second time the name of your college and want to know where it is.”
Mayer earned an invite to play for the Harwich Mariners after a junior season in which he struck out 64 in 46 innings and was named all-conference in the New England Small College Athletic Conference, sometimes referred to as the "Little Ivies." Mayer made enough of an impression on Colby College coach Jesse Woods, a Harwich assistant who lobbied to get him a spot.
“His size jumps out at you, but he also has dominating stuff and is no one-trick pitcher,” said Woods, who was a Notre Dame assistant coach before taking over at Colby. “This summer, he is seeing he has what it takes. His stuff always gave him a chance. Now he sees he can use it to get elite hitters out.”
For New Yorkers, Mayer’s story echoes Nelson Figueroa’s start. Figueroa pitched well enough for Brandeis to earn a Cape invitation and then got the exposure that helped him get drafted and ultimately play nine seasons in the majors. Woods envisions Mayer returning to the Cape for 2023 after his senior season at Tufts and before playing a season in Division I as a grad transfer.
He’s appeared in seven games this summer and was 1-1 with a 4.33 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 18 1/3 innings. In one disastrous start against Brewster, he allowed six runs, but in the other six outings, he had a 1.68 ERA.
“I’ve seen so much here from a baseball science perspective,” Mayer said. “At Tufts, I just pitched. With the equipment here, I see why my pitches get results and how to better sequence the pitches. I’ve learned so much that will make me better.”
Mayer had Division I opportunities out of Syosset High School, but Tufts was the combination of academics and good baseball culture that he couldn’t turn down.
“I know I chose a longer road, but I’ve always thought I could play baseball at the highest level,” Mayer said. “I always believed that the best players get discovered no matter where they play. Playing here and in front of all the scouts every night? It’s the opportunity I’ve been waiting for.”