Jeff Cammans living his dream
"When he was little he loved watching the catcher play and he would always say he wanted to be the catcher, so just as something to dress up in we went and bought him the smallest mask and the smallest chest protector we could find," his parents said. "We would have to pull the thing up and tie it or else it would drag. He would be out there in the front yard shuffling along because the thing was so big. His head would be bent over because the mask was so heavy."
That little boy grew up to become the starting catcher for the North Kingstown High School baseball team. When asked why he enjoys the catcher position so much, Cammans is quick to say that he likes being involved in every play.
Going to the state finals at Mc- Coy Stadium his sophomore and junior years was the highlight of his time with the Skippers.
"It was so exciting, there were so many people watching and the stadium is amazing," Cammans said. He confesses that he thrives on the do-or-die atmosphere of the playoffs.
Kevin Gormley, the Skippers' coach, said that Cammans is one of the best hitters in the state.
"Jeff's numbers were higher his sophomore and junior year than they were his senior year, but that was because he was shown the ultimate sign of respect from the other team." Gormley said. "The other teams knew what he was capable of and they pitched around him a lot. Even with that, he still finished the season over .400 and had 117 hits in his high school career, which is amazing."
His hitting is one of the aspects of his play that helped earn him first-team All-State honors his sophomore and junior years. The results of the All-State voting have not been released for the 2007 season, but Gormley expects that his former catcher should once again take the honor.
"I was pretty surprised to win my sophomore year because I took first team and the catcher from Bishop Hendricken, who was a senior and a captain, took second team."
Although winning the award was an honor, it meant that the pressure was on for him to perform as well, if not better, the following years.
His dedication and off-season work ethic are things that Gormley points to as reasons for Cammans continued success on the baseball diamond.
"He was always in the weight room working out," Gormley said. "He placed high priority on his off-season conditioning program and it made him a better all-round player."
Even graduation has not slowed down Cammans' drive to continually improve his game. He signed a letter of intent to play with the University of Rhode Island baseball team next spring and rather than take the summer off to hang out at the beach, he is using the time to workout with his dad and play baseball with two different teams.
The Rams will have a senior at catcher next year, but Cammans is flexible and hopes that he can secure a starting position in the outfield his first year.
"I know he will succeed at the college level because he has the bat speed to be able to keep up with college pitching," Gormley said. "College pitchers in Division I consistently throw in the 80s and even low 90s and most high school players cannot make that jump, but he can."
As talented as he is at baseball, Cammans will actually be attending URI on a full Centennial academic scholarship. He ranked number 29 in his class and was a member of the National Honor Society.
"He was an Academic All-State this year, which is a hard award to get," Gormley said. "His maturity and dedication to baseball was defi- nitely a carry-over from the classroom."
Cammans' ultimate goal is to play professional baseball for the Red Sox. He laughs when asked if there is any team he would not want to play with.
Like any good New Englander, he said. "You know the answer to that."