The New England Scorpions Baseball program is run out of 365Sports in Warren, RI. The highly successful baseball program features travel showcase and club teams from 10U to 18U age groups. The Scorpions program is headed by Cody Ortega and its coaches and staff are some of the best and brightest baseball coaches in all of Southern New England. Cody and I have remained in contact over the years as his program has evolved and he reached out to me last week to inquire about a visit to 365Sports.
When I arrived in Warren on Saturday, I was greeted at the door by safety signage and protocols from the Rhode Island Department of Health. Mask wearing, social distance signage, player sign in sheet – all the boxes are checked to ensure the safety of the players and visitors at 365Sports. Cody greeted me with a warm welcome and (now standard) fist pump hello. We chatted for a bit about the facility and the catcher’s clinic that was wrapping up. He pointed out Andy Andrade, former Salve Regina Head Baseball Coach, who was throwing batting practice. I took a quick walk through the hitting area and snapped a few photos.
As I was walking back out to the front desk area of the facility, Cody greeted me with a really cool surprise. He had assembled a panel of his players to chat about baseball in Rhode Island. Cody thought it would be a good exercise for his players and I was thrilled to speak to these outstanding student athletes about the state of the game here in Rhode Island. I made my way over to the panel assembled just inside the waiting area of 365Sports to greet the players.
I cannot begin to tell you how impressed I was with this group. Me, a complete stranger to their facility, was welcomed by each and every player as if they had known me for years. One by one, these exceptional student athletes answered my questions. Thought provoking and in depth answers like seasoned professionals. I asked “what is the importance of indoor training” and like a college baseball coach would answer at an ABCA convention “we understand that baseball training indoors provides repetition to build a solid foundation for those imperfections you will find outside.” I asked about missing an opportunity to play consistently in 2020, especially for your local high school team. The consensus answer was disappointment but optimism for 2021. I asked about recruitment to colleges and universities. The players helped me connect the dots on how video, social media posts, and online chats are used in the recruiting game. Many of them mentioned that they are in contact with their collegiate commitment coaches and share training videos with them. We chatted about the talent levels of high school teams versus showcase teams. We spoke about how The New England Scorpions builds character, resiliency when adversity hits you, how to bounce back with hard work and determination. And how to be humble and understand that despite what others say or write about you – All Star, All State, MLB draft potential – you need to earn your place on any baseball team whether it is a Scorpions team or your local high school team. The humble comment was by far the most impressive statement I have heard from a student athlete in my many years of writing about youth baseball. And Cody Ortega, the parents of these players, and the entire Scorpions organization should be extremely proud of what they are building.
After our panel discussion, each and every player came by to thank me. Seriously, thank you players! That was a lot of fun. I asked Cody to write down their names so I could acknowledge them in my article here. When he mentioned their ages, I was absolutely blown away. Such maturity and confidence at such a young age, wow I so impressed. Sophomores, Juniors, and a few Seniors and one Freshman in High School just sat down with me and spoke intelligently about the game they love and their humbleness being a New England Scorpions baseball player. As they players exited the facility, I got a chance to chat with Andy Andrade about Rhode Island baseball. We chatted about the Newport baseball scene, name dropped players we played with or against, talked about the Newport Gulls, and how the Scorpions program was near and dear to Andy. By the way, Andy is in the Salve Reginal Athletic Hall of Fame and here is a link to his dedication link – Andy Andrade. It was great meeting Andy and chatting about his involvement with baseball here in Rhode Island.
If you look to the right of the front desk area at 365Sports, you will notice an entire wall of trophies. I asked Cody about them and if one in particular stood out. He did mention one tournament win in Florida from a few years back, but really insisted on showcasing the character and talent of his players. And he mentioned them as student athletes for the most part. Not just baseball players. Students first, athletes second. The New England Scorpions baseball program is a travel and club baseball program, yes. However, the pride in Cody’s eyes and speech when he mentioned a player going to U of Maine or Notre Dame or University of South Florida or Bryant or Nichols College was just tremendous. The life lessons about resiliency and humbleness and determination and self-sacrifice and team first are taught at every level of the New England Scorpions program. Lessons that will traverse far beyond 365Sports, Warren, Rhode Island. That is why this program is so special.
It was a great visit to see Cody, meet his exceptional student athletes, meet Coach Andy Andrade, and take a tour of 365Sports. If you would like to learn more about the New England Scorpions programs, here is how you can connect with Cody and his management staff and coaches.
Website – New England Scorpions Baseball
Twitter – 365SportsRI
Facebook – New England Scorpions