July 16, 2014
WASHINGTON – Georgetown baseball teammates Matt Hollenbeck (Horsham, Pa./Hatboro-Horsham) and Nick Collins (Carthage, N.C./Union Pines) received the unique opportunity to face each other in a Cape Cod Baseball League game last Sunday evening, July 13.
With one out in the bottom of the eighth inning at Chatham’s Veterans Field, Collins, a left-handed batter playing for the Anglers, dug in against Hollenbeck, also a lefty, who is pitching this summer for the Falmouth Commodores.
While the two Georgetown teammates are friends and battery mates on the Hilltop, they are currently playing for rival teams in one of the most challenging and prestigious collegiate summer baseball leagues and neither was going to back down. Hollenbeck attacked the at-bat, ultimately striking Collins out on two fastballs sandwiched around a curveball.
“Getting to face Nick was a really cool moment,” Hollenbeck recalled. “Having two guys in this league is a sign of good things to come for our program, and it was pretty special for Georgetown baseball to take center stage for an at-bat in the Cape Cod League. I got lucky enough to get him this time, but he's gotten me quite a few times in past inter-squads, and I'm sure he'll get me again in future ones. Having the chance to talk to him after the game with Coach Wilk on the field was a special moment that I won't forget for a long time.”
Hollenbeck’s Commodores and Collins’ Anglers are scheduled to play each other again on Monday, July 21.
Hollenbeck has now made four appearances since joining the Commodores at the start of July. In 5.1 innings of work, he has not yet allowed a hit, yielding just two walks while striking out six.
Collins came back strong on Monday night, going 2-for-4 and hitting his first home run of the summer against Hyannis. Click HERE to listen to Chatham’s audio highlights (1:30 mark). He is now batting .323 in 20 games this summer, including a .395 (15-for-38) in his past 10 games.
“The home run I hit last night felt real good,” said Collins. “I got the pitch I wanted and was able to put good wood on it. It felt good. This summer has been an unreal experience so far.”
Both Collins and Hollenbeck received a treat on Tuesday as they, along with their respective teammates and the rest of the Cape Cod League, traveled to Boston for the league’s annual workout at Fenway Park, the home of the Boston Red Sox.
Throughout the day, two teams at a time took the field for hitting and fielding drills while enjoying the sights and sounds of one of baseball’s most historic stadiums.
“The Fenway workout we had was awesome,” Hollenbeck said. “Pitchers didn't work out at the event, but to be able to run around on Fenway and shag batting practice was well worth the trip up. Probably the coolest thing I saw there was where Mariano Rivera signed the visitor bullpen: Last to wear #42, thanks for everything. They have the piece of wood in a glass encasement in the pen.
We actually worked out with Chatham, so I was able to watch Nick hit and throw to bases. He looks really good and is having a great summer. I am excited for the year he is going to have for us next spring on the Hilltop.”
A pair of Hoyas, rising junior pitcher Matt Smith (Cranberry Twp., Pa./Seneca Valley) and rising sophomore Joseph Bialkowski (Raleigh, N.C./Needham B. Broughton) were both selected to participate in the Coastal Plains All-Star Game on Monday evening.
Smith, representing the Forest City Owls, pitched a perfect third inning for the West All-Stars, retiring the East’s 2-3-4 hitters in order, including a strikeout.
“One of the goals I set for the summer was to make the All-Star team,” Smith said. “Being elected into the All-Star game was an honor. I was surrounded by excellent players and even better people. The atmosphere was fun and relaxed, just how the game of baseball should be played. The best part about that trip was being able to share the field with fellow teammate Joseph Bialkowski. With this summer coming to a close I've never been more excited to get back at it with my Georgetown teammates.”
Bialkowski, representing the Florence RedWolves, entered the game in the sixth inning for the West, going 0-for-2 in two at-bats and played four flawless innings in the field at first base.
So far this summer, Smith is 5-0 with a 2.36 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 34.1 innings. Bialkowski is batting .350 (42-for-120) in 33 games, with five doubles, 13 RBI and a .421 on-base percentage.