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By: Carson Field
As a 17-year-old in the United States, you can’t vote. Or consume alcohol (legally). You can’t even join the military.
But you can play summer collegiate baseball — that’s exactly what Bourne infielder Cade Beloso did. And it paid off.
Before joining the Bourne Braves and his school team, LSU, Beloso played in the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League during the summer of 2018.
For the first month of the season, he wasn’t a “legal adult.” Born on June 29, 2000, Beloso was the youngest player ever to participate in the Great Lakes league.
But youth wasn’t a barrier for the up-and-coming slugger. Beloso batted .320 with four home runs, which earned him a spot on the North All-Star Team.
“I couldn’t be more thankful for getting to play there,” Beloso said. “Going up there and not really knowing what college pitching is about and learning from guys who had been in college.”
As someone who had never played an inning of collegiate baseball, Beloso’s opportunity to mingle with top-tier college baseball players as a recent high-school grad was beneficial in his development.
“Some dudes were much older than me and more experienced with college baseball, so just picking their brains every day was awesome for me,” Beloso said. “It helped me a lot mentally and maturing as a baseball player.”
Several months later, Beloso began his career as a Tiger. In his freshman campaign, Beloso posted a sound .279 average with 10 roundtrippers.
Beloso used his first season in purple and gold to hone his craft and build relationships with his Tiger teammates.
One of those, Bourne outfielder Giovanni DiGiacomo, noticed Beloso’s leadership and maturity almost immediately.
“He really opened up to all of us,” DiGiacomo said. “We all grew and matured in the fall, and he was a leader when we needed that.”
After the Tigers were knocked out of the Super Regional round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament, Beloso arrived in Bourne.
For Beloso, his first season in the Cape has been smooth sailing thus far. In 14 games, he has posted a .463 on-base percentage with two RBIs.
Unlike the NCAA, which uses BBCOR bats, the Cape Cod Baseball League and Great Lakes League both use wooden bats. Already having experience with wood bats has helped Beloso hit the ground running with the Braves.
“Wood bats definitely are a challenge because you have to square it up more,” Beloso said. “Last summer helped me get a feel for what they’re like.”
In addition to the bats, there is one other pivotal difference between summer ball and college baseball: the schedule. During the college season, players get a few days off every week, while in summer leagues, they play almost every day.
Beloso, who played in 54 games last summer, was ready for this challenge.
“Definitely last summer gave me a taste of playing every day,” Beloso said. “I think I played all 54 games, so I definitely got a good taste of that. I had to mentally prepare every day.”
Since Beloso joined the squad, Bourne has been much-improved. The Braves are currently on a three-game winning streak and sit just five points behind third-place Falmouth.
As the second half of the season progresses, Beloso’s experience and guidance could help the Braves climb the West Division ladder.
At least DiGiacomo thinks so.
“Having a guy that can observe and talk with such authority is good to have on and off the field,” DiGiacomo said. “He’ll take on a big leadership role now.”