Alexandria, VA – Second baseman Jake Heilman has his eyes set on professional baseball, and the way to get there right now is playing all summer for the Alexandria Aces. The 18-year-old is a sophomore at Palm Beach State College, and hopes to transfer to a division I or II school next year. In the meantime, though, he’s doing things a little differently by playing with a wooden bat with a collection of college all-stars.
“It’s a laid back atmosphere, with a lot of really, really good baseball players,” Heilman said. “This is nice to be around.”
The Aces are part of the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League, and play 40 games throughout the summer.
“The kids here are better than any college team,” said Alexandria Aces founder and CEO Don Dinan. “These kids have never played every day like this. It’s not just about the physical endurance, but the mental endurance as well.”
The 34 players on the team stay with hosts families throughout the summer.
“It makes staying away from home a lot easier,” said 19-year-old pitcher Tyler Briggs, who is a freshman at the University of Connecticut.