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Riverside Millitary teammates are foes in summer league play

POSTED: June 30, 2008 5:00 a.m.
/For The Times

Riverside Military Academy's Brian Cox playing for the East Cobb A's

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When East Cobb Shamrocks catcher Patrick Wermert looked to the on-deck circle recently, he saw a familiar face strolling to the plate. It was his teammate Brian Cox from Riverside Military Academy pinch hitting for the East Cobb A’s.

Both players know each other all too well playing as teammates for the Eagles. But this encounter was as rivals playing in the highly touted East Cobb summer baseball league.

"It really lightens things up when you see someone you know," Wermert said.

Wermert liked the fact that he was behind the dish with a high school teammate stepping to the plate. He says it makes it easier to call pitches for an unfamiliar pitcher. In this summer’s first encounter as opponents the Eagles catcher got the best of the match-up getting his friend and teammate to pop up.

But this summer’s experience playing in the East Cobb program isn’t about gaining bragging rights to talk about when back on campus at the Gainesville private military school. They are much more focused on playing as many games possible in one of the most competitive summer baseball leagues in the nation.

"The competition playing baseball in East Cobb is unbelievable," said Cox, a rising junior. "You see guys on the mound that can throw the ball 92 and 93 miles per hour."

"East Cobb is the best place to play baseball in the summer," Wermert said. "Just the name alone carries a great reputation."

Wermert, a Times 2008 All-Area Baseball First Team selection, even noticed the spotlight on the East Cobb baseball program in a recent article in USA Today talking about how Georgia churns out some of the top high school baseball talent in the country.

"It worked out perfect with me playing East Cobb since it’s right near my home here in East Cobb," Wermert added.

Wermert and Cox aren’t any different than any other player in the East Cobb family of baseball teams. They are looking to get the attention of college coaches. Wermert has already garnered attention from coaches at Harvard and Boston College to attend future prospect camps. Cox isn’t bashful to admit he’ll take up a scholarship from any school that will let him play after graduating from RMA.

"My dream is to play Division I college baseball," Cox said. "So far, I’ve received a few letters."

Both players will get ample opportunity the remainder of the summer to grab the attention of college coaches with a summer schedule that includes more than 70 games for each team. It’s a particularly delicate balance of time for Wermert who juggles playing baseball almost every day, along with his part-time summer job at home in Marietta.

And when he has choose between playing in a baseball game or making ice cream cones at Cold Stone Creamery, he’ll find his way to the baseball field each and every time.

"It’s head and shoulders baseball over working," Wermert said jokingly.

Wermert says the highlight of the season playing with East Cobb is the Perfect Game showcase that takes place July 8-20 with games spread out over the East Cobb baseball complex and local high school fields across Cobb County. The purpose of the tournament is to funnel the players into the same environment for college scouts to have a one-stop shop experience to evaluate talent. He added that more than 100 teams take part in the tournament.

"The Perfect Game is what everybody talks about," Wermert said. "It’s a great opportunity."

Both of the these rising RMA juniors believe that the experience playing at East Cobb will translate into their high school success. Wermert is a returning varsity starting for the Eagles and Cox is making the jump from junior varsity to varsity next season.

"The best thing about playing East Cobb is the repetition," Cox said. "Playing at East Cobb you get to go against the best of the best."



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