Chapter 2–Mike Young ‘18: The Long Road Close to Home
By: Tim Crowley
Baseball is a perfect example of how life can change in the blink of an eye.
Mike Young embodies that notion, as his career on the Cape came together in less than 24 hours. Following the conclusion of his 2018 season with the New Bedford Bay Sox of the New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL), Young sat around with his teammates at an end of the year gathering. Three players from the team received invitations to play in the Cape Cod Baseball League to start playing the next day. Young sat with another all star, outfielder Rafe Chaumette, wondering if they would get a similar call. At that moment, he reached out to a hometown friend, Luke Chevalier, who was already on the Cotuit roster. By the next day, both Young and Chaumette were on their way to the Cape to join the Kettleers for a playoff push.
“This was the final day you could transfer to a team, so we had to get back to my house and unpack, then meet the GM at his house to pick up our uniforms,” said Young on the transition from his presumptive end to summer baseball to now entering the premier collegiate baseball league in the country. “It was so last minute. The game that night, Rafe ended up starting in center, and I pitched the final two innings. We went from midnight at the house in New Bedford thinking our season is over to playing in the Cape. It was a big turnaround.”
While his call to the Cape came rather quickly, the baseball journey of Mike Young began long before 2018. Growing up as the son of a former college player at Holy Cross, he circulated around the game from an early age.
“My grandfather brought a baseball with my name and date on it to the hospital the day I was born,” said Young. “Everyday when my dad came home from work, he would ask me if I wanted to go to the field. He would throw batting practice, play catch, and hit me ground balls. I loved it right away.”
From his early love for the game, the Mashpee, MA native developed into a strong player by the time high school rolled around. He attended Pope John Paul II High School in Hyannis, MA and bolstered his resume with serious hardware as the Boston Globe Player of the Year for Division 4 as well as winning a Division 4 State Championship. When his time in the Cape and Islands League came to a close, Young made the jump to where he initially believed he would play at the collegiate level at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL. A coaching change prior to his freshman year led him back to Massachusetts and a commitment to play at Stonehill College.
“Stonehill was in my top three as a high school student” Young remembers back to his decision to become a Skyhawk. “I really liked Coach Boen. He was really human and easy to relate to. I had a workout and went to campus for a day. I was a two-way at the time, so I hit and threw a bullpen. Coach Boen said there would be a spot for me if I wanted it and that I was a talented kid with a chance to play.”
Young translated that opportunity into instant success with a terrific campaign as a freshman, posting a 0.67 ERA over 53.1 IP while only surrendering four earned runs all season. As a vocally established competitor and student of the game, he found success after solely devoting himself to his craft on the mound after limited innings in high school.
After a solid sophomore season, Young felt discomfort in his elbow when playing catch prior to a summer league game. The diagnosis came back as a torn UCL, leading to Tommy John surgery. Young would redshirt his junior season to recover and eventually made his way back from one of baseball’s most devastating injuries to get back on the mound.
In the summer of 2018, he would begin his time in New Bedford with the Bay Sox of the NECBL, going 1-1 with a 3.75 ERA in 15 appearances. As previously mentioned, that would have been the end of the summer for the righthander if not for the last minute call to the Cape.
Growing up in Mashpee, Lowell Park sat just a few miles from Young’s home. While the proximity was certainly enjoyable with a hometown connection, the pitcher had his own aspirations for playing in the Cape League.
“It’s been a dream of mine to play in that league, not because of the local ties, but because I wanted to play against the best competition possible,” said Young. “The Cape is absolutely that, especially coming from a D2 guy, where you need that summer to prove yourself as a prospect.”
Mike’s short time on the Cape featured his signature moment in a late season battle with the Falmouth Commodores where he struck out the side to seal a 5-4 victory for the Kettleers.
His full return to Stonehill came during a resurgent senior season, in which he finished the season at 5-3 with a 2.13 ERA and 8.34 K/9 over 72.0 innings. Young ended his time as a Skyhawk on a high note, but would be left with a difficult decision: continue to play or enter the coaching industry?
“After playing on the Cape, I started to have a few offers. I had scouts at my games senior year, but things did not work out,” Young recalls. “I could have gone the Indy Ball route, but I wanted to end on a high note. I did not want to be this bitter guy about baseball thinking about what he could have been.”
That moment opened the door to coaching, and another pivotal discussion with Stonehill head coach Pat Boen.
“Our pitching coach had resigned at the end of the season, so I went into Coach Boen’s office and told him that I had wanted to coach for a long time. I had a different dynamic given that I had been teammates with these guys, but I knew what a Stonehill pitcher goes through,” Young tells of the conversation. “I felt that I could really get through to these guys to help them, and I really wanted to recruit as well. It was a mutual fit, and it worked really well early. I love to teach and put together programs for guys. When I see them really get after it and benefit by seeing the use and educating themselves really fires me up.”
In addition to joining Stonehill as their pitching coach, Young also signed on with the Garciaparra Baseball Group (GBG) Hawks as an assistant before becoming the head coach of their 15U team.
Baseball has given Mike Young purpose throughout his early journey in life, and will continue to motivate him to inspire and educate the next generation of talented arms. His time with Cotuit certainly fueled an already thriving passion for the game, and will further generate a contagious love for the game for years to come.