Sarnia’s Vince Caschera has turned his game around in his second season of collegiate baseball at Indiana’s Goshen College.
After a slow freshman campaign, when he failed to crack .200 at the plate, he is now among the team leaders in most offensive categories this season.
At press time, the 19-year-old first baseman was hitting .298 with a team high four homers and 24 RBI in 32 games. His on-base percentage of .415 and slugging percentage of .500 are also both dramatic improvements over last season.
Caschera has also stroked seven doubles, drawn 14 walks and scored 17 runs.
“I revamped my whole approach at the plate, my whole swing,” he said. “I worked hard with the coaches in the cage and I think so far it’s paying off.”
The St. Christopher secondary grad has a goal to hit .300 this season with good power numbers, but more importantly he wants Goshen to advance to the Crossroads League tournament early next month and go as far as possible.
The Maple Leafs, as the Goshen squad is nicknamed, are currently in ninth place in a 10-team league, but only three games out of fifth place. They have a stretch of eight games in a row at home over the next two weeks.
“Even though we’re a young team, I think we can do some damage,” he said. “Hopefully we can continue to move up in the standings.”
Caschera, who played five seasons in the London Badgers system before receiving a scholarship to the small college about 40 kilometers southeast of South Bend, was switched from third base to first base last season and has embraced the new position.
“Basically I get to touch the ball every time it’s put in play which I like,” he said, noting that he also enjoys the opportunity to save his infielders should they make a bad throw to first base.
He has committed only seven errors this season.
Caschera is among more than 800 players from Canada currently playing collegiate baseball in the United States, something he traces to the success of the Toronto Blue Jays just over two decades ago.
“In our conference, every team has at least one Canadian on it, so it’s nice to see.”
During the off-season, the biochemistry major, who hopes to enroll in dental school later, will return to southwestern where he’ll play for the St. Thomas Tomcats of the Junior Inter-County Baseball League.
The Tomcats won the league title last August.
Caschera is eligible for the Major League Baseball draft in 2016.