To get to the next level, John Boidanis is dedicating himself to baseball this summer.
The Glenbrook North alumnus just finished his freshman baseball season at Black Hawk College, a junior college in Moline, and is now playing for the Joplin (Missouri) Outlaws in the M.I.N.K. Collegiate Baseball League, a Midwest summer league. With games nearly every day, Boidanis is busy.
“Once I got down here, it’s just baseball, baseball, baseball,” Boidanis said. “Basically it’s just working out, playing baseball, sleep and get up and do it again.”
The season is young, but Boidanis has had a nice start, hitting 5-for-19 with a home run and three RBI in splitting time at first base through eight games.
The nine-team league’s purpose is to simulate minor league baseball. Players don’t get paid (to maintain college eligibility), but everything else resembles the pro game — they hit with wood bats, embark on bus rides and hotel stays during road trips, and play 48 nine-inning games in 55 days through July 22.
“It’s probably a little truer of a view for scouts in terms of how the day-to-day stuff is ran,” Joplin manager Jason Immekus said.
Another aspect that’s different for Boidanis is that he’s living with a host family. He’s staying with teammate Bryan Wade and his mother. Wade’s mother grocery shops for them and Boidanis has his own room.
“It’s really nice because it’s kind of like I’m at home,” Boidanis said. “They welcomed me really nicely.”
Boidanis is one of 18 pitchers on the Joplin roster (he hasn’t pitched yet but most likely will pitch in relief this season, Immekus said), and he’s one of 33 players total. The team and the league are filled with both high and low-level college players all vying to improve and move forward with their careers.
“I’ve come into a good league, a lot of good competition, going to raise the level of my game playing with a lot of guys playing DI or DII already,” Boidanis said. “It’s all about just playing my game, playing well, trying to get to the next level, trying to get exposure.”
Boidanis hit .339 with five home runs and 32 RBI for Black Hawk College this season, earning first-team all-conference and first-team NJCAA Division II All-Region IV nods. He plans to play the rest of this season for Joplin and may return for them next year. If he performs well in the summer league, he’ll likely get noticed.
“John’s future in baseball is going to be as bright as he wants it to be,” Immekus said. “He’s a hard worker, and provided he stays healthy and continues the hard work, the sky is the limit.”