Playing baseball in Australia still motivates Skyline pitcher Cage Cascone to this day.
Now a college sophomore, Cascone played in Australia on a two-week stint with the Chicago Cubs scout team during his senior year at Terra Nova.
The right-hander played as part of a squad stacked with top-flight talent, including Dante Bichette Jr., a Yankees’ supplemental first-round draft pick in 2011.
“It still to this day motivates me and gears me up and gives me good memories,” Cascone said. “It just helps me believe in myself.”
Cascone is enjoying a solid season as a transfer sophomore at Skyline this year. He tabbed the win Saturday in the Trojans’ 10-2 win at Hartnell, dealing for 1 1-3 innings of shutout relief. Cascone currently owns a team-best 2-0 record and also paces the staff in appearances with 15 — tied for fourth in the state.
Skyline has been scuffling as of late, losing six of its last seven. But Cascone has enjoyed his share of winning baseball. Last season, he pitched for Cabrillo as the Seahawks advanced to the Super Regional playoffs before being eliminated two games shy of the State Championship tournament.
And when Cascone played in Australia during winter break of 2010, the Cubs went 9-2 with Cascone pitching in two games.
“We played the first day when we got there,” Cascone said. “We got off the plane and went to the field — got off the plane, got in a bus and there we were.”
The Cubs began their 11-game tour on Dec. 18, 2010 at Holloway Field in Brisbane, approximately 1,000 km north along the coast where the Dodgers and Diamondbacks opened the Major League Baseball season Saturday in Sydney. Cascone spent Christmas under sunny skies with a host family in Brisbane. Of the two games in which he pitched, he started and received game MVP honors for one, he said.
But Cascone said the experience initially affected him adversely when he returned for his senior season at Terra Nova.
“I feel like [the experience] has benefitted me a whole lot more in college because it made me a little bit arrogant going into that season in high school,” Cascone said. “I think I got a little bit jaded because … it seemed like a joke after playing with these guys in Australia that were all professional and D-I bound players.”
He threw well that season for a scuffling team, posting a 1-4 record despite a 0.88 ERA.
Cascone earned a spot on the Cubs by virtue of an evaluation clinic at Sonoma State during his junior season at Terra Nova. According to Cascone, Cubs area scout Rob Williams indentified him at the clinic and presented him with the opportunity to join the scout team for the trip to Australia. Cascone raised $4,000 for the trip with donations from family and friends.
“I was pretty dead set on it right away,” Cascone said. “It just seemed like too good an opportunity to pass up.”