[Editor’s note: Tim Tawa graduated from West Linn HS in 2017 as perhaps the most decorated athlete in Oregon history. A rising junior on the Stanford Cardinal baseball team, the 2016-2017 MaxPreps National High School Athlete of the Year is in Cape Cod for the summer trying to get better while also trying to catch the eyes of professional scouts in the toughest wood bat summer collegiate league in the nation. Every Monday, Tim, whose national top five Stanford team was eliminated by Mississippi State in the Super Regionals two weeks ago, will share his experiences in the Cape with you. His first installment is entitled “The Journey Begins”]
The Journey Begins
On Tuesday 10:30, my mother, Lisa, hugged me goodbye at PDX after just six days at home following the conclusion of my sophomore year at Stanford. I felt excited tinged with a little apprehension although I was mostly excited; another day, another new adventure, provided to me through baseball.
My travel was characterized by delay, including a return to the airport 30 minutes after takeoff due to an oil-related mechanical issue. I finally arrived in Boston at 11:41 p.m., yet was still approximately two hours from my summer home in Falmouth. I was set to join the team, the Falmouth Commodores, the next day and couldn’t wait to get back on the field.
I was greeted at Logan Airport by my host family dad, Eric Zmuda, who is Commissioner of the entire Cape Cod League. In true Massachusetts form, despite my long flight delay and the lateness of the hour, his greeting included a broad smile and a Patriots pullover.
The drive south in the rain was long but enjoyable. We conversed and listened to the Red Sox struggle with the Twins into the 17th inning. At 1:42, almost 15 hours after I first left for the airport, we pulled into the driveway. I met the rest of the family, mom Lisa, daughter Amy and dog Amanda, as well as my roommate for the summer, Texas A&M junior outfielder Zach DeLoach.
After brief introductions and conversation, finally I got into bed and tried to close my eyes, but sleep evaded me until after 3 a.m. My body needed rest but my mind could not. Everything is new; everything will be new. This is an important summer. There’s a lot at stake. It takes over an hour for me to drift off to sleep…
The next day was filled with multiple introductions. I met our general manager, coaches, many of the players and received all my gear. For the first time, summer baseball felt imminent, which was exciting. After leaving Mississippi State with a sour taste in my mouth, this is an opportunity for growth and to get better with a fresh start.
Unfortunately, that start did not happen due to poor field conditions. My first opportunity to contribute to the ‘Dores came and went, the first of four consecutive rain outs in my first four days on the Cape. Many of the guys stayed at the field to put in extra work. I took ground balls at short with Trei Cruz (Rice), a summer league teammate from two years ago; and the rest of the infield. We all tried to see who could make the best “Jeter” throw from deep in the hole at short.
Although this was my first extended time with most of the guys, the beauty of summer ball is we were able to joke, laugh, and mess with each other right away. Instantly, I felt comfortable and relaxed.
Now if the weather would only cooperate. I am ready to get back to playing baseball and to show everyone what I can do.