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2022 New England Summer Series: Team Preview - Ruffnecks


Bruce Hefflinger and Dylan Hefflinger
PBR Ohio Senior Writer and Editor in Chief/NW Scout

 

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Eight of the top organizations in New England have teamed up with Prep Baseball Report to form a new league that will benefit players and colleges alike.

The PBR New England Summer Series will begin in late June to the delight of those involved.

“College coaches can come out to see the best organizations in the area,” explained Rich Gilbride, the director of the league. “A bunch of colleges in New England have asked why can’t we get something together at one venue for them to come out and watch and we finally decided to get one together. Everyone thought it was a great idea.”

The eight-team league will play four games once a week at Fraser Field in Lynn, Ma,, a 5,000-seat venue that has played host to many minor league teams over the years. Games will be nine innings in duration and be held at 9 a.m., noon, 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. every Tuesday beginning on June 28.

Players throughout each organization in the 2023-2025 graduating classes will participate.

“These are high-level organizations that already send kids on to play college baseball,” Gilbride said. “This will only help bring maximum exposure for players in each organization.”

The Expos, Gilbride’s organization, will be joined in the newly formed league by the U.S. 9 Prospects, GBG Hawks, J & M Baseball Academy, Northeast Baseball, New England Ruffnecks, River Rats and Team Boston. Each will play one game each week over a seven-week season, with play ending on Aug. 16.

2022 New England Summer Series: Team Preview - Ruffnecks

Ruffnecks

Steve August speaks about the organization.

The organization is now in year 19 with founder Steve August still enjoying being part of it all.

“In the spring I spend a lot of time with the 13s, that’s our entry point,” explained August, who partnered up with another to build the New England Baseball Complex in Northborough that opened in 2014. “We have five teams that start out at 13. I roam in the summer and I’m a certified college counselor as well.”

The success of the program has been phenomenal.

“Over a four-year period that preceded 2020, we had 78 percent that played at any level and 41 percent that played at the D-I level,” pointed out August, a former assistant general manager with the Red Sox.

Strong coaching is a backbone of the organization, featuring pitching coordinator Ace Adams.

“We’re lucky to have him,” August said of Adams, who has 35 years of experience in that capacity..

 With two decades of knowledge and understanding, the Ruffnecks continue to make strides as an organization.

“With two decades of doing this you have time to sharpen your focus,” August said. “Our focus is being team oriented and development oriented.”

Being a vital part of the new PBR New England Summer Series is compelling, according to August.

“I think this idea is brilliant,” August said. “I hope it’s successful. I like that it’s small. Tournaments are getting so big, the fact that this league is eight teams is great. I like that it’s mid-sized with good programs. It’s not going to be about bashing each other’s heads in, we’re playing teams with similar objectives while trying to get our kids better. This will dodge the inconsistencies that you see when you go to pool tournaments.”

It adds to the schedule that has been developed through two decades as an organization.

“We have a long history as far as where we have to be for the older guys,” August explained. “For the 13-14s we try to find good fun trips.”

Getting out of the northeast is not a big part of it for the Ruffnecks, which in 20 years as an organization has traveled to events in states such as Arizona, Texas, Missouri and Illinois.

“When we built the complex in 2014 we reduced the need to travel,” August said. “Our 17s go to Diamond Nation and we go to the WWBA and Music City with the older levels.”

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