Westhampton Beach Basebal Player Signed To Pecos League Team - 27 East

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Westhampton Beach Basebal Player Signed To Pecos League Team

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Ernie Geraci, former Westhampton Beach High School and Westhampton Aviators baseball player, signed with the Roswell Invaders of the Pecos League.

Ernie Geraci, former Westhampton Beach High School and Westhampton Aviators baseball player, signed with the Roswell Invaders of the Pecos League.

Ernie Geraci, former Westhampton Beach High School and Westhampton Aviators baseball player, signed with the Roswell Invaders of the Pecos League.

Ernie Geraci, former Westhampton Beach High School and Westhampton Aviators baseball player, signed with the Roswell Invaders of the Pecos League.

Ernie Geraci, former Westhampton Beach High School and Westhampton Aviators baseball player, signed with the Roswell Invaders of the Pecos League.

Ernie Geraci, former Westhampton Beach High School and Westhampton Aviators baseball player, signed with the Roswell Invaders of the Pecos League.

Gabriela Carroll on Jul 8, 2020

Despite a premature end to his college baseball career, Ernie Geraci, former Westhampton Beach High School and Westhampton Aviators baseball player, took the first step in his professional baseball career by signing with the Roswell Invaders of the Pecos League.

Geraci recently completed his two weeks of training camp as the league plans to start its season in Houston. He signed with the league in early June after being called down for a tryout.

“I was not really thinking about baseball too much, and then I got the call to get ready a couple weeks in advance to come down here,” Geraci said.

The Pecos League is based in the Southwest, and is an independent professional league outside the minor league system. The league consists mainly of young and rookie players in the early stages of their professional careers, like Geraci.

Geraci’s hitting coach from a young age played for the Pecos League after he went undrafted, so Geraci knew about the league and proactively reached out to a few managers from the league in February and early March, but due to the pandemic, those opportunities fizzled out. After going undrafted in the MLB’s shortened 2020 draft, the manager for the Invaders reached out and Geraci joined their roster.

Though his final college season at Farmingdale State came to a premature end, Geraci said he wasn’t too sentimental about it. While he said he wished he could have had a senior day and many of the end of year traditions, after leaving campus it was not hard to get over everything.

“We went down to Orlando, Florida for our spring break trip, and we were at the hotel for about two hours and then the president of the school called our coach and said we got to come right back,” Geraci said. “That was basically it. It was rough. Obviously, you’d like to have that send off to your college career that you work so hard for, but I didn’t get it, so I’m not too sentimental about it.”

During his summers off from college, Geraci played for the Westhampton Aviators, a Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League team. He was a part of the Aviators’ 2016 HCBL championship team, as well as their second place finish in 2017.

He credits his experience with the Aviators for giving him the opportunity to develop with strong college baseball players from all across the country when he wasn’t seeing big playing time at his own school.

“I didn’t play much my freshman year of college,” Geraci said. “I went to the Hamptons summer league, and I played every day against really good competition, so that got me seeing high level college arms that I was facing every day, got me really prepared and got me a lot better.”

The lack of job security is one of the most stressful parts of playing professional baseball, according to Geraci, but also one of the most motivating factors. Unlike in high school and college, a few bad games can result in the end of your time with the team.

“Your job is on the line every single day,” Geraci said. “You hear stories about people getting released. A common thing I’ve heard is everybody’s gonna get released at some point. And I guess I’m a little nervous about that. Obviously, everybody probably is at some point. It puts the pressure on you, but at the same time, it hopefully brings out the best in you.”

One of the other challenges in the move from college to professional is the speed of the game, Geraci said, and after losing his final college season, he was a bit rusty returning to play for his training period before the Pecos League season.

The climate in Houston is starkly different from the East End, with temperatures frequently rising above 100 degrees, and the humidity reaching 80 percent, and Geraci said the weather was extremely challenging to get adjusted to, especially while still returning from a spring off the sport.

“If you’ve ever been to Houston in the summertime, it’s very hot down here,” Geraci said. “We’re out on the turf field and the turf’s even hotter. So that’s taken some getting used to. I’d say the first few days my body was definitely feeling it, but now I’m feeling good. I’m feeling ready to go.”

Geraci said his skills came back naturally after a few days practicing with the team, and his professional debut with the team was in their opening game on Thursday, and since starting, he’s made two hits on nine at bats. His goal for the season is to develop his skills and put up good numbers to position himself well to move forward in his journey in professional baseball going into 2021.

“My goal for the season is to just get my feet wet in professional baseball,” Geraci said. “I want to make a good name for myself in the league, and hopefully make some good impressions on people that will be willing to vouch for me for next year, or the year after that.

“To get promoted eventually is the ultimate goal,” he added. “The Pecos League is a really good league for rookies, but it’s one of the bottom levels of professional baseball, so I’d like to do my best to work on getting promoted.”

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