SANTA CLARA, Calif. - With many Broncos playing summer baseball all over the country, some players stay local. Chris Heckert and Kenny Treadwell both played for the Alameda Merchants of the Golden State Collegiate Baseball League in 2013.
The Merchants went 30-13 on the season and 22-7 in conference play. They finished in first place by six games. In a winner-take-all title game vs. the Auburn Wildcats, the Merchants were able to come away with a 7-5 win to seal the championship. It was the first GSCBL title for the Merchants. Heckert and Treadwell helped the Merchants be named one of the top-50 collegiate summer baseball teams in the nation.
"Chris always showed up on time and was very humble," said Merchants assistant coach Dan Mills. "He lives the life of a middle reliever - never knowing for sure whether he is going to get into a game. If one of our starters threw a complete game, he was right there rooting him on. If we needed him, he was there when we called upon him. He was very inquisitive and always wanted to get better. He was great at getting us a lot of ground ball outs. We hope the does the same at Santa Clara."
Heckert appeared in eight games for the Merchants out of the bullpen. He posted a minuscule 0.69 ERA while picking up one save in 13.0 innings. Heckert fanned nine while walking three.
Heckert pitched in several clutch situations over the summer where the team was up one, tied or down and kept them in the game every time. His best outing of the summer was where he pitched the seventh, eighth, and ninth of the longest game in Golden State Collegiate Baseball League (GSCBL) history - an 18 inning marathon against the South Bay Storm which the Merchants won 3-2. He came in with the game tied 1-1 and gave up 1 walk and no hits over three tense innings.
Treadwell made just three appearances for the Merchants after returning from a trip to Africa. He was able to pitch in the double elimination league championship playoffs.
"When Kenny first came to us, he was overpowering people with his FB, but was having difficulty getting his curve over for a strike since he had not thrown in a game in over a month," said Mills. "He worked hard during his time with us to get this pitch going consistently. He made strides in that he realized that in order to be an effective pitcher at SCU, he needs to be able to throw that CB for a strike on any count. If he is able to do this successfully, he should be an effective middle reliever. After we won our league championship on Aug. 4, he was the first player to come up to me and thank me for allowing him to come on to the team. I hope he does well in his last year at SCU. He deserves it."