In terms of game importance and national recognition, Summer baseball may not mean much in the grand scheme of things, but to the players on the field it’s as important as anything they do in the offseason.
For Martinsville Mustangs infielder Colin Allman, he learned last summer just how important playing in the summer is for a college baseball player. Allman is about to enter his senior season at Division II Newberry College, in Newberry, South Carolina. He only played in about 16 games last summer for the Coastal Plain League's Morehead City Marlins, and felt that it wasn’t enough, leading to a step down when he got back to Newberry for his junior season.
“Not playing right after my sophomore year kind of set me back,” Allman said. “Now that I look back on it, I wish I would’ve said I would’ve played and just played the whole summer last year… The more you’re on the field the better you’re going to feel.”
The problem that Allman has faced this summer, as well as in the spring during his college season, is he’s been dealing with hand injuries, which cost him 20 games at Newberry.
He came to Martinsville, hit .300 in his first 14 games, and then hurt his right hand and made his return to the field this week.
“I wanted to get as many reps as possible,” he said. “I told Coach Snook when I got here, I said, ‘I missed 20 games in season. I’ll be ready to play every day if you want me in the lineup.’ Of course that’s not happening right now, but we’re going to get back into it.”
Even with his hand injury and being stuck not playing for a short time, it didn’t stop Allman from getting voted in by the CPL fans for this weekend’s all-star game in Savannah, Georgia. Allman wasn’t on the roster when the league announced the teams, but fan voting pushed Allman to Savannah, joining teammates Tyler Riebock, Hank Moore, and Davis Palermo.
“It was cool. I really wasn’t expecting it,” he said. “I know some of my friends back home and my family back home voted for me… It was cool to know that there was people out there that wanted me to go there and showcase what I’ve got.”
It was only a handful of games in Morehead City last summer for Allman, but it was enough to get comfortable with the pitching that players face in the CPL. He originally planned on going back to Morehead City thi s summer, but after that didn’t work out, he came to Martinsville and he hasn’t looked back.
“It was a lot of fun last year playing and competing because I hadn’t seen pitching like that in a long time," he said. "Coming (to Martinsville), I knew what to expect and kind of the competition level that it was going to be, so that’s why I think I had a pretty good start to the year this year."
Allman made the move after his freshman year of high school to the Ostingers Baseball Academy in Florida, an academy run by former MLB player Jim Osting that provides professional instruction to young players. Allman played from the summer after his freshman year to the summer following his senior year. That was the last time he has experienced an atmosphere like he might see in Savannah this weekend, but it was those years that have got him to this point in the first place.
“I love that man. He’s the reason I’m here today,” Allman said of Osting.
“It’s going to be fun (at the all-star game). A lot of people are going to be there. I haven’t been to a showcase like that since high school, so it’s going to be something I’ve been in before, but it’s going to be kind of new because I haven’t been in it in a long time.”
Allman is motivated to get back to playing as close to every day as possible to get as many reps as he can before heading back to Newberry to get his senior year started. It’s his final season of college baseball, so he’s hoping he can do enough to hear his name called by Major League Baseball.
“I definitely want to have a shot of getting drafted,” he said. “I’ve been working for it since high school.”
During his sophomore year at Newberry, Allman thought he might not play in the summer, and instead go home and get a professional internship. Now, as his college career is closing, Allman has no desire to not play baseball.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do if I’m not playing baseball,” he said.