06/24/2006 3:53 PM
24 June 2006
Cape League Special
Curve Balls, Curacao and the Cape
HARWICH, Mass. – From the coast of Curacao to the shores of Cape Cod, Arshwin Asjes has rounded all the bases.
Affectionately known as “Arsh,” he takes the mound as a hard-throwing right-handed pitcher from Temple University in Philadelphia. He left behind his family and his native homeland of Willemstad, Curacao, roughly 30 minutes by air from Venezuela, to pursue his lifelong dream of playing pro ball.
As he enters his junior year at Temple in the fall, Arsh hopefully will have conquered what many baseball players long for – a chance to play summer ball on the Cape. This summer, facing the best college hitters in the country, he joined the Harwich Mariners of the Cape Cod Baseball League with the hopes of securing a permanent spot on their 2006 roster.
Signed as a temporary player, Arsh is thankful to have been offered such an incredible opportunity with the Mariners.
“I hope to land a spot as a permanent player for the summer, but even if I end up going home, and am only able to play a couple of weeks, I am lucky to have had this chance, and I will have absolutely no regrets,” said Asjes.
At 20 years old, Arsh hasn’t had many regrets. When he was eight, he picked up a baseball and started to play with his friends. Since then, he hasn’t put it down. Most young boys dream of becoming a professional athlete, and as they grow older, some find that they may not have what it takes, or they discover another passion that may be easier to pursue. But Arsh’s childhood dream of playing pro ball is far from extinct. His dream lives on.
He made the move to the U.S. to pursue his love for the sport, and with his effervescent spirit and aspiration to play, he joined the team at Gloucester County College in New Jersey for his freshman year, and was selected by the Cleveland Indians in the 34th round of the 2005 MLB Draft.
While some may question his decision, Arsh turned down the Indians’ offer without much hesitation and successfully transferred to a four-year university, Temple, to continue polishing his performance on the mound.
“I wanted to pitch a couple more years before settling down with a contract in the majors,” said Asjes. “I wanted to make sure I had an education before moving on.”
Last spring, Arsh went 5-7 for the Temple Owls with a 4.26 ERA, striking out 55 batters in 74 innings. He was an All-Philadelphia Diamond Five selection last semester.
Currently, Arsh finds himself living along the sprawling beaches of Cape Cod, and playing under the radiant lights of the Whitehouse Field diamond, home of the Harwich Mariners.
Wearing number 27, he came in as a relief pitcher for three innings during the Y-D vs. Harwich game on June 17, allowing only one walk, no hits or runs scored, and recording four strikeouts.
Asjes seems to have found his niche in Harwich, where he has already revealed his successes on the field. “I am very happy so far. Playing for the Cape League automatically grants good exposure and the people are welcoming. I like my teammates, and the entire coaching staff.”
His family most likely won’t be making the long trek up to the Cape to see him pitch this summer. However, they remain optimistic that he will soon conquer his dream of playing in the Majors.
His head coach at Temple, Rob Valli, is “extremely excited for Arsh to get a chance to play in the best collegiate summer league in the country. It also is a testament to the direction that our program is headed that a Temple player is deserving of a spot at the Cape.”
Not only does Temple’s baseball program become a more recognized team with one of their star pitchers representing the Harwich Mariners, but the knowledge and experiences “Arsh” will have acquired from the Cape League will hopefully rub off on his fellow Owls, and of course, help propel Arsh into the world of professional baseball.
But Arsh isn’t overly concerned about the road ahead. He is soaking up every minute while playing in the Cape League, developing new friendships, focusing on his game, and ultimately helping the Mariners climb their way to a championship.
Arsh has succeeded so far with his extensive travel and schooling. Only time will tell if can keep batters from rounding the bases this summer.
By Lauren Malone, CCBL Intern [email protected]