In order to prove oneself as the best, one must compete well against the best competition possible. This summer, Encinitas native Riley Adams is doing just that.
More than 3,000 miles away from home, Adams is playing catcher for the Orleans Firebirds of the Cape Cod Baseball League. In doing so, the Canyon Crest Academy product is playing in what is widely considered to be the top summer collegiate baseball league in the country.
The rising junior at the University of San Diego might be used to playing ball in and around his hometown. But geography is not preventing Adams from enjoying his Cape League tenure this summer.
“It’s been a blast playing against some of the best competition in the country and that college ball has to offer,” he said. “I can’t complain there. Everything’s been great so far.”
Statistically, Adams has been one of the best players on The Cape this summer. Through 28 regular season games, Adams had hit .346 with six doubles and an .831 OPS. And yes, he was named a Cape League All-Star.
What has been the secret to Adams’ success? He said he is confident and does not overthink what he does.
“I go into every game thinking I’m going to hang with the best of the best,” Adams said. “It is a good feeling, but it’s only one summer and I’ve got many more years to go.”
There is a heavy scouting presence at Cape League games and given Adams’ performance, it seems likely teams would be looking at him as he is eligible for next year’s draft. He was selected out of high school by the Chicago Cubs in the 37th round of the 2014 MLB draft, but did not sign.
If he is thinking about the draft this time around, however, he did not admit it.
“There’s so much that could go on in the next eight months or so,” Adams said. “I’m not thinking too far ahead, I’m just going out there and playing ball. That’s all I can do, so I’ll stick with that.
“I’m keeping it simple,” he continued. “See the ball, hit the ball. Catching, I’m just trying to build a good relationship with the pitchers because that’s the most important part. I’m not trying to do anything too fancy. I’m just going out there and playing baseball like everyone else is.”
Adams is taking this summer to work on becoming the best player possible in every aspect of the game. He mentioned both his hitting and defense as areas he could improve upon.
Of course, Adams is optimistic he will be able to parlay his Cape League success into a big year at USD next spring. It should not be difficult for him either, as he hit .327 with six home runs and a .955 OPS in 56 college games this spring.
And as far as schools go, Adams knew when he was offered the opportunity to play for a Division I program locally, he couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
“It is quite a nice thing to be so close to my family,” he said. “They get to come to every single game. USD is a beautiful campus. I’ve got some great coaching and some great teammates. I’m very fortunate they’ve helped me along the way. I’ve got no complaints and no regrets about forgoing the draft in 2014 to go to USD. It’ll pay off for me in the end.”