On Saturday, the Newark Bears opened the gates to Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium in hopes of finding a diamond in the rough to compete for a spot on the 2013 roster.
Over 50 players came to the event in hopes of proving themselves to the Bears’ coaching staff.
Newark’s Hitting Coach, Quentin Davis, ran the tryout, along with the team’s pitching coach Ralph Citarella.
Many of the participants were thrilled with the opportunity to get to display their talents in hopes of being picked up by the Can-Am League team.
“I’m enjoying the opportunity to come here and try out for a pro team,” said J.D. Calabrese, a first baseman from Nyack College. “It’s always been a dream, from when I was a kid until I was in college and up to this point (to be a professional player).”
“I’ve been waiting for this. I hope this is my shot,” said Luis Catana, an infielder. “I’ve never thought I would experience something like this.”
The top players were asked to return for a final tryout session on Sunday. From there, the coaches will choose which players will receive invitations to Spring Training and a shot at making the final roster for the season, which will begin in May. These players with professional baseball aspirations took advantage of the opportunity to impress Newark Bears’ coaches months before the final roster decisions are made.
“I was surprised to hear (about Winter Tryouts),” said lefty pitcher Sean Hille. “I was practicing at a field, and a guy approached me and said they were holding an open tryout. I was surprised but I was also excited to get an opportunity, because you don’t really hear about tryouts like that in the winter–it’s normally in the spring. I had it in mind where I was just going to wait until the spring to tryout, but somebody told me about this and I jumped all over it.”
Hille, a graduate of Montclair State University, earned a call-back for the second day of the tryout, after a strong showing on the mound.
“I felt pretty good,” he said. “My velocity wasn’t quite there, but that’s to be expected in the offseason. I’m just hoping I can hit my spots and show them that I’m capable of making the team. My goal is to play professional ball and if they’re willing to give me that opportunity, I’d be ecstatic.”