By Nate Grist
In the summer of 2008, an East Carolina University student made his way to Cape Cod for the very first time. This was not a vacation, but the opportunity of a lifetime to play in the most prestigious summer league in the country-the Cape Cod Baseball League.
“Cape Cod is a beautiful place, but my first year there it was a wake-up call,” according to Roller who hit .270 with 2 home runs and 22 runs batted in to go along with 43 hits. “I faced the best players in the country and mentally I had to step up”
Braves Head Coach Harvey Shapiro had faith in his first baseman enough to bring him back for the 2009 CCBL season. “I loved Harvey” says Roller. “He had you work hard, play hard and lit a fire underneath you to get going.” Get it going Kyle did, as he won 2/3 of the triple crown that year hitting 10 home runs while batting in 33 runs, batting .342 while having a slugging percentage of .644 and winning league MVP honors. He was one of the catalysts for a team that went 25-17 that year and won the Arnold Mycock trophy as CCBL Champions for the first time in team history. “That second year I was more comfortable seeing the ball better and it was great to help the team win a championship.”
Teams did take notice as Kyle was selected in the 8th round of the 2010 MLB draft by the New York Yankees and played in their farm system until 2015. This past season Kyle played for the Durham Bulls, AAA affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays until being released mid-season and being picked up by the Somerset Patriots of the independent Atlantic League. “Man it felt like yesterday that I played in Bourne and I wish I could do it all over again.”
This week it all comes full circle for Kyle Roller as he will be inducted into the Class of 2016 Cape Cod Baseball League Hall of Fame along with J.C. Holt, Warner Jones, Mark Petkovsek, Jim McCollom and Kolten Wong. “This is a huge honor to be recognized and a very proud accomplishment for me.” For more information about the 2016 CCBL Hall of Fame Ceremony go to capecodbasball.org.